b. Fred Willie Hughes Jr., 20th August 1943, Berkeley, California, U.S.A.
d. 18th January 2022, Kaiser Oakland Hospital, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
Born in 1943 in Berkeley, California, U.S.A., Freddie Hughes was born Fred Willie Hughes Jr.
He was raised in Oakland’s segregated Harbor Homes housing project.
Freddie had four siblings.
His father, Fred W. Hughes, was a pastor who helped found Oakland’s Good Samaritan Church of God in Christ.
His mother Lola Mae Anderson was a singer and missionary.
At the age of 12, Fred sang in a choir, that included Betty Watson and Edwin Hawkins, (of the Edwin Hawkins Singers group).
Freddie was signed to the Melatone Records imprint in the late 1950s with a vocal quartet called the Markeets.
tear drops b/w baby, please - 1957
They released ‘Tear Drops’ b/w ‘Baby, Please’ in 1957 for Melatone.
the four rivers: (bottom row) connie bailey, wiley trass, (top row) van pleasants, ken pleasants and freddie hughes (top right)
By 1961 he had joined the group, The Four Rivers who came under the wing of Ray Dobard’s Berkeley-based Music City label.
They featured Freddie Hughes, along with Connie Bailey, Wiley Trass, Van Pleasants and Ken Pleasants.
At the label, the group sang backgrounds for the likes of Richard Berry, James Brown, and Big Mama Thornton.
They released released ‘Send My Records C. O. D.’ b/w ‘I Walk In Circles’ in 1962 on the Music City imprint and ‘I Confess’ b/w ‘Sooner Or Later’ in 1962 on the Josie imprint.
The Four Rivers became known as The Music City Soul Brothers in 1965, who released several sides including, ‘Let Our Love Go On’.
The group had vocal similarities to the group The Impressions.
As a solo singer, Freddie released the single ‘Send My Baby Back’ in 1968.
‘Send My Baby Back’ reached number 20 on the R&B charts and number 94 on the pop charts.
send my baby back - 1968
Freddie released a parent album that year for the Wand Records label.
That album featured ‘Send My Baby Back’ (co-written, produced, and arranged by Lonnie Hewitt), ‘(a cover of the Carole Kings song) ‘Natural Man’, ‘Tonight I'm Gonna See My Baby’ and ‘He’s No Good’.
During his career, Freddie recorded for the Wand, Wee, Melotone, Vee Jay, Brunswick, Ifgam and Blues Express Inc. imprints.During his carer, Freddie collaborated with many artists, including Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Etta James, and Ike and Tina Turner.
He was one of the last successful artists on Vee Jay Records before the label folded in the mid-Sixties.
Freddie passed away from leukemia and Covid 19 complications, at the age on 79, in January 2022.
He was the father of the Be4Real recording artist, Derick Hughes, who sang with Tower Of Power.
Send My Baby Back (Wand Records 1968)