Freddie Notes to Perform at London International Ska Festival
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Freddie Notes launched his career on the famous Vera Johns Jamaican talent show and promptly went onto cut his first record for Studio One Records. Immigrating to London in 1964 success soon followed when his band The Rudies recorded for Trojan Records. Hits came thick and fast… “Return from South Vietnam”, “Down on the Farm”, “The Bull” and the global smash hit “Montego Bay” making The Rudies the most in demand reggae band of the day.
In a golden age for the London music scene Freddie started a weekly residency at Soho hotspot The Cue Club run by fellow Jamaican musical pioneer and entrepreneur Count Suckle. Everyone came through there; Otis Redding, Ike & Tina, Small Faces, The Stones, The Beatles and Freddie was at the heart of it. He soon became lauded as Jamaica’s No.1 Entertainer, famed for not only his songs and voice but his electrifying dancing. So much so that he was once asked to leave the stage at Brixton Odeon whilst opening for James Brown, for fear he’d upstage the Godfather of Soul! “Mr. Brown doesn’t like that” a heavy handed security guard remarked at the time.
Little Richard offered Freddie a job as his dancer. Much to soul legend, and new found friend, Ben E King’s disgust Freddie turned the offer down. National tours ensued with The Kinks, The Nice and Arthur Brown. One famed night the founder of be-bop Dizzy Gillespee gatecrashed the stage to play mouth-harp with them. Mick Jagger befriended the band and invited them to perform at his wedding to Bianca. Then, just when it seemed they could do no wrong, The Rudies split. Freddie continued a solo career and went onto have an international success with his hit “Walk A Mile In My Shoes”. Under advice from his Wardour Street booking agent he turned down a role in Jesus Christ Superstar and set sail for the far-east, where he’d repeatedly perform ‘Montego Bay’ for the next few years.
In 1982 Freddie returned to the UK. Disheartened by the state of the country and lack of opportunity for kids to progress in life he set up the Ethelred Estate Community Youth Club in Kennington. Now into it’s 30th year he has seen off attempts by Lambeth City Council to forcibly cease the site to build flats at the High Court. His work has been endorsed by the Metropolitan Police and HRH Prince Phillip, and proudly, unfunded, Freddie still runs the club to this day.
Here’s a wickedÂ cut on the Downtown label from 1969.
Freddie Notes will be performing a rare set at this year’s London International Ska Festival at the legendary 100 Club on Saturday March 30. He’ll be backed by the amazing Upsessions with support from the even better Intensified!
LONDON INTL SKA FESTIVAL 2013 â€“ DAY 3 â€“ Evening Show
30 March 2013 at The 100 Club, 100 Oxford St, London W1
Trojan Explosion starring
FREDDIE NOTES MEETS THE UPSESSIONS
plus more tba.