Who's Who? - Part 3
Roughly a year ago I ran a little special feature called "Who's Who?", exploring some artists who share names and thus often cause confusion among collectors. Well friends, here we go again, this time with Bobby Moore's. And though a few of you UK soulies might be thinking about a little West Ham footie ball, I'm referring to the other ones. Singer Bobby Moore of New Jersey, who lead 'The Four Most' ... and saxophonist Bobby Moore of Alabama, who lead 'The Rhythm Aces'.
Part 3: A
The Four Most got their start in Newark's Third Ward around 1958. A group of guys would converge on the corners around Spruce Street and warble the hits of the day. The members, all in their early 20s, coalesced to: Bobby Moore (lead), Ronald Mikes (tenor), Charlie Chambers (baritone), and Bobby Frazier (bass). Their inspiration was Little Anthony and the Imperials, leading to their own version of "Tears On My Pillow." As well as on street corners, they practiced at the Morton Street School every night. With all the sounds echoing down the corridors, it's no wonder that they were heard by one of the teachers there: Frank Fenner. He liked what he heard and offered to manage them. The Four Most didn't follow the regular appearance path too closely. They sang at schools, which was normal. However, there were no club appearances, but, for whatever reason, they sang at reformatories. Their only big show was at the Paterson Armory, where they shared the stage with Chuck Berry. More important, they came in first on one of the Apollo Amateur shows. Finally, in the summer of 1960, Fenner got them a recording session with Johnny Dee and Joe Flis's Milo Records, operating out of a storefront in Harrison, New Jersey. One of the songs they recorded was "I Love You," a tune written by Bobby Moore. The flip was the old standard, "The Breeze And I." The record was released around September 1960, but, according to Bobby, "it didn't get played much." He attributes this to the payola scandal that was unfolding at the time. Let's face it, when a DJ receives a record from a tiny independent label, there had better be some money along with it, or it gets totally ignored. By the time the record was reviewed (October 24, 1960) the group had ceased to exist. However, all was not lost for Bobby Moore. When the Four Most had appeared at the Apollo, another act on the bill was the Fiestas, who had recently decided to add a fifth voice. Bobby was working at Fedders (the air conditioner manufacturer) at the time and the other Fiestas (Tommy Bullock, tenor; Sam Ingalls, baritone; Eddie Morris, second tenor; and Preston Lane, bass) just marched in and told him they wanted him for the group. He started off by giving them a song he'd written, "You Could Be My Girl Friend." They rushed into the studio to record it (along with "So Nice"). Bobby Sang lead on both sides. After that, the Fiestas broke up for a while. Then, in the early spring of 1961, Preston Lane and Bobby Moore got together with tenor Jimmy Jones and baritone Wesley Lee to record two songs for the Strand label (distributed by Decca) as the Fiestas: "Come On Everybody" and "Julie." Once again, Bobby sang lead on both tunes (he had also written them). However, by the time the record was finally released (in June 1961), the group had broken up. Jimmy Jones then joined Tommy Bullock, and Eddie Morris, who, along with Tommy's brother, George, and Randall "Randy" Stewart, became the "official" Fiestas on Old Town. Their first release, also in June, was "Mr. Dillon, Mr. Dillon"/"Look At That Girl." In late 1961, Bobby decided to go out on his own, releasing a record on the Seg-Way label: "Pinky"/"Walk With My Love." "Pinky" was used as an advertisement for the Thom McAn shoes of the same name, until they got a better idea and hired Chubby Checker to promote their "Twister" line. 1962 saw Bobby, as "Little Bobby Moore" on King. "The Ginger Snap," backed with "The Clown" were released in June of that year. Then, in 1963, Eddie Gries started Relic Records as a vehicle for reissuing songs for the newly-emerging collectors market. Interestingly, the first Relic release was "I Love You"/"The Breeze And I" (Relic 501), by The Four Most. In 1964, Bobby got together with bass Bobby Frazier, his old pal from the Four Most, to put together a new group called the Fourmost (spelled as a single word this time). The others were tenor Lloyd Williams, and his brother, Sammy Williams, a baritone. Somehow they met up with Jerry Cohen, a part owner of Fantasy Records. "Dance Of The Land"/"You Got To Live For Yourself" appeared on Fantasy in 1964. The next year saw "It Was A Lie"/"Girl, You Do Something To Me" on Cohen's D.W. label (with the group's name misspelled as the "Fourmosts"). These tunes were picked up by Leiber & Stoller's Red Bird label for a 1966 reissue. Also in 1966, Bobby had some more solo releases. However, now there was another Bobby Moore (from Montgomery, Alabama) recording with the Rhythm Aces on Checker. Therefore, when he released "I Was Born A Loser"/"My Luck Is About To Change" on Juggy Murray's Sue label, he'd been renamed "Bobby Lee." A second Sue release from that year was "I Missed It By That Much"/"I'm Not Afraid." There was one other Bobby Lee record from 1966: "Cut You Loose" (another of Bobby's compositions), backed with "I'm Just A Man," on the Port label. As well as recording some solos, Bobby was the vocalist with Duke Anderson's band for most of the 60s and early 70s. In the 90s, he sang with a band called Damn Near Home. And then, in 1996, Bobby reunited with Tommy Bullock in the Fiestas. The others were Kenny Harper (second tenor) and Wendell Scott (baritone). When Tommy died, around 2002, they kept the group together by bringing in tenor Wayne Parham. Since all four of the original members (Tommy Bullock, Preston Lane, Sam Ingalls, and Eddie Morris) are deceased, Bobby carried on the name until his death on April 8, 2013. ~ Marv Goldberg
You Got To Live For Yourself collects the complete Bobby Moore aka Bobby Lee recordings (less one side) between 1960 and 1967. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.
Bobby Moore - 1961 - Walk With My Love (Seg-Way 1005)
Part 3: B
Best remembered for their 1966 R&B smash "Searching For My Love," Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces were the first act on Chicago-based Chess Records to record at Muscle Shoals, Alabama's legendary Fame Studios. New Orleans-born tenor saxophonist Moore assembled the first Rhythm Aces line-up in 1952 while stationed in Fort Benning, GA. The group played military dances and nightclubs throughout the south for several years before dissolving. Upon settling in Montgomery, Alabama in 1961, Moore recruited a new roster including his brother Larry Moore on alto sax, vocalist/guitarist Chico Jenkins, guitarist Marion Sledge, bassist Joe Frank, keyboardist Clifford Laws, and drummer John Baldwin, Jr. A longtime mainstay of the Montgomery club circuit, The Rhythm Aces backed visiting singers including Sam Cooke and Ray Charles before signing to Chess' Checker subsidiary in early 1966. Their smoldering debut "Searching For My Love," featuring Jenkins on lead vocal duties, sold over a million copies and cracked the Billboard pop Top 40, inspiring Chess to book its other artists studio time at Fame, most notably Etta James. The Rhythm Aces' soundalike follow-up "Try My Love Again" inched into the Hot 100, and in 1967 their third Checker release "Chained To Your Heart" cracked the R&B countdown, but the group never repeated the success of "Searching For My Love," and after a three-year recording hiatus, Checker issued "Your Love And My Love Together" before terminating Moore's contract. He nevertheless remained a Montgomery fixture for decades to follow, releasing a pair of singles and an LP in the mid 70s and leading a revolving Rhythm Aces lineup that later included son Bobby Moore, Jr. who took control of the group following his father's death from kidney failure on February 1, 2006. ~ Jason Ankeny [allmusic]
I Won't Cry collects the near complete works (less one unissued side) between 1966 and 1976. Both LPs, all the non-album single sides and a small handful of unissued cuts. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.
Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces - 196? - Mother Dear (P-Vine Special PLP-6056)