Freddy Robinson had only recently been signed to Enterprise, the Stax subsidiary, when the company began wrapping up its operations in the mid-70s. Many of his fine sessions were consequently consigned to the vaults. Those that had been released were never given the attention they deserved - a story common to some of the most exhilarating Ace reissues. We set the record straight with this carefully compiled CD which mixes 11 tracks from both his Enterprise LPs (At The Drive In and Off The Cuff) with nine previously unissued titles.
Robinson grew up in Arkansas during the 40s. He learned to play guitar at the age of nine, and turned pro when he moved to Chicago in 1956. He worked with several groups: first with Birmingham Junior & His Lover Boys, then with Little Walter, playing on several Checker sessions as well as live dates, then in 1960 he joined part of Howlin' Wolf's band, recording in the sessions that resulted in Wang Dang Doodle, Back Door Man and Spoonful.
Robinson was profoundly influenced by many of the greats he worked with, but it was at a gig in Michigan with Little Walter's combo that he caught James Moody in performance and discovered jazz. It inspired him to enrol at the Chicago School Of Music, learning to read music and a style that was considered far more complex than the blues.
He worked his way through the blues and R&B scene, establishing a fine reputation, familiar and comfortable within a whole raft of styles. Robinson played in Jerry Butler's band from 1963-67. He also worked with Syl Johnson and then moved to Los Angeles to be part of Ray Charles' outfit. He also cut several records as a solo artist, with minor success in both the jazz and soul fields.
His Enterprise material is distinctly bluesier than his recordings from a decade earlier-.-indicating a return to his roots. The LPs he recorded for the label used the cream of Los Angeles' session men, while the Memphis sessions drew on Isaac Hayes' band with Alex Brown, the ex-Raelet, organising the backing vocalists.
BLUESOLOGY draws upon all his Enterprise recordings, and re-evaluates Robinson's talents-.-his material has been unjustly neglected for too long. Despite their relative late date they are of a quality which aficionados of earlier periods would also really enjoy.
By Julia Honeywell