The Bobby Fuller Four — Best of The Bobby Fuller Four

When I bought this album in 1981, the only thing I knew about The Bobby Fuller Four was the same thing anyone knew about them: They were the ones who made a hit of the Sonny Curtis song “I Fought The Law.” I never saw either of the original two Bobby Fuller Four albums in the wild, never heard another song by them until Rhino put out this compilation. Made up mostly of originals by Bobby Fuller, it’s about what you’d expect from an American band in 1964, ’65, ’66. There are some great little songs on this — it’s not groundbreaking by any means, but quite a bit of fun. Some of these songs were put onto mixtapes that I still play (digitally) to this day, so they’ve been part of my musical landscape for 40 years, but I never pull the album out and give it a listen.

Best of the Bobby Fuller Four front cover
Best of the Bobby Fuller Four front cover – the badge shape being a tip to their greatest hit

It does remind me, though, that for a couple of years, we were in with a group of friends who frequently threw theme parties, often costume parties, and on a few occasions we were asked to provide the music for those parties. Why? Because we had a lot of records. So we would throw together a mixtape (and often had to drag our stereo equipment to the party house) and try to impose our tastes on the partygoers. You know those DJs that you hate, the ones who will play any kind of crap in any kind of order, with no natural flow, and only playing songs absolutely everyone in the universe knows? We were the opposite, focusing very much on the flow, the overall sound and tempo, and not caring one bit whether people knew the songs. We were only too happy to put songs like The Bobby Fuller Four’s “Let Her Dance” in the mix. It’s a terrific song perfect for any ‘60s themed party, and you don’t need to know it to dance to it because you know how to dance to any ‘60s song. It’s a pogo, that’s all you need to do to this. So we would play things like “Let Her Dance,” or The Standells’ “Rari,” or any number of other very danceable songs that people just plain would not know. And that may be exactly why we were only asked a few times. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that most people are only interested in hearing the familiar. Well, we tried.

Best of the Bobby Fuller Four back cover
The liner notes give a brief history of The Bobby Fuller Four, a history not well known at the time, and hit at the controversy around Fuller’s early death, which was ruled a suicide, although friends and family believe he was murdered.

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