John Fred

Listen to John Fred & His Play Boys on Boogie Chillin'

Baton Rouge's John Fred & the Playboys may be best known to most of the world for their 1967 smash "Judy In Disguise," but around these parts their most heroic musical accomplishment was a 1964 kit-bashing of two of the coolest songs imaginable, John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Children" and Frankie Lee Sims' "Walkin' With Frankie." Everything about the song defines raw power, from the savage A chord that guitarist Lynn Ourso strikes when the needle hits vinyl—which hangs in the air for a split second, as menacing as the first power chord of Link Wray's "Rumble"—to the relentless boogie pattern with his fellow Playboys kicking in at the perfect moment.

Fred's first record, "Shirley" was a driving mid-tempo swamp pop number recorded at Cosimo's studio in New Orleans with accompaniment by the Fats Domino band that created such a stir that his name was soon plastered on posters in the company of such heavy hitters as Cookie & the Cupcakes, Jay Nelson, Guitar Gable and Doug Ardoin and the Boogie Kings. Fred's albums on Paula—most of which were recorded at Robin Hood Brians' studio in Tyler, Texas—are a cool mixture of blue-eyed soul and garage punk that show could only have come from South Louisiana.

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