(KBM1) I FOUGHT THE LAW : THE LIFE AND STRANGE DEATH OF BOBBY FULLER by Randell Fuller and Miriam Linna First and only authorized biography of West Texas legend Bobby Fuller, "Rock And Roll King Of The Southwest", as told through the eyes of his brother and bandmate Randell-- Randy Fuller. Fuller's teenage home garage recordings are pure, wild and heartstopping anthems that pushed him into the Hollywood big leagues where he was no longer in control of his music and career. The title song, plus Let Her Dance, Another Sad And Lonely Night, Shakedown and so many others are all world-class rock and roll favorites. He wrote the songs, recorded them in a garage studio that he built with Randy, released them on his own record labels, promoted and supported them himself, and opened his own teenage night club in El Paso. He was the king of the scene, and soon found himself bound for the coast where he wanted to bring his vision to a larger audience. This book tells the story of his early years, through the Texas teen days, and into the last eighteen months of his life when his career skyrocketed into the music charts, television and the movies, and he became an unwilling pawn to powerbrokers with little regard for his talent. He was found dead in a car, doused in gasoline, in July of 1966.
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I bought this freshly published volume after having had my appetite whetted by the liner notes from Norton's Bobby Fuller comps (and got an extra copy for a pal who hepped me to same). I'm not yet more than a quarter of the way through but so far, so good; it's engagingly written and inherently interesting, and I'm pleased that Fuller's finally received the biography he deserves. Bravo. (And for what it's worth I can recommend two other Kicks titles without reservation: Nick Tosches's Save the Last Dance for Satan, and Kim Fowley's Lord of Garbage, both of which are a gas gas gas.)
Lots of great interviews and incredible new details such as East Coast music mavens Morris Levy and Nate McCalla from Roulette taking in interest in Bobby's career.
There used to be a word: pantheontology. It stopped existing. I guess it was a whim or the necessity of keeping spellchecker dictionaries under 16 meg. To include selfie something had to go. Sometimes, it seems, the old stuff might be better than the new. Pantheontology was a good word. It carried heavier implications than it's definition. It meant the people who's work and products hadn't merely influenced you but had helped create you. They shaped who you were and who you were to become. They not only altered the way you saw the world they changed the world and your place in it. They placed a semiotic yardstick that gave you values, indicated your pleasures and created a haven to logic out life. In my personal pantheontology are guys like Kenneth Patchen, Raymond Chandler, Berlioz, Gene Vincent and Bobby Fuller. When I first got my hands on "I Fought The Law" I handled it with some trepidation. It's a beautiful book. The binding and printing and the paper reek of class and high ended permanence. I was expecting, maybe hoping for, one of those 35 cent Ballantine paperbacks designed to sit in the back pocket of your jeans; always ready for when you climb on top of a big desert rock with a thermos of coffee and a need to read. But the book bothered me; a book this beautiful and meticulous implied it contained nothing but the truth. That bothered me. I found myself thinking idiotic thoughts like: "Just because it's his brother telling the story doesn't mean that it's all the exact truth. Sibling rivalry and all that stuff could color his memory. If what he says about Bobby shatters the image that been a glue in my world there's plenty of wriggle room to reject it even if it is the truth. How could his brother know Bobby better than me, I'm his biggest fan! Personally I'm very glad there is nothing in this book to dim the brilliance that is Bobby Fuller, in fact it adds to appreciation of the man and his music and the group that travelled with him. The book reads well. It's got plenty of dope for the hard core fan and for the newly indoctrinated. Fuller and Linna capture that easy flowing rhythm of the West Texas Desert and when they clatter on to a group of young dreams they treat them like gossamer in the sun with the terse laconic edge of Jim Thompson. Thompson is a good source for Bobby's story. His story is mainly about dreams, prodding and moving forward to a landscape he saw too clearly. Like all things of beauty someone had to bring it down so that a story of euphoria had to be smashed down in a grubby and mildewed fashion. "I Fought The Law" doesn't back down from any of Bobby's reality while it also encompasses the grief and the self pity of his friends and family without bogging down the narrative. It's a story that moves from youth to success to despair avoiding bathos and pathos and cloying mish mashes of boring ephemera. In short it's a great book, fun to read - high entertainment and "low" spectacle. I hate to say this but I think this is an important book as in focusing in on one indisputably great artist it casts great light on parts of our souls. Read it.
I am thrilled with my books! One is mine and one is a Christmas gift! The packaging, disc for a 45 record, and autographed books will be treasured!