Fred Lowery


Willie “Big Bo” Thomas was the sax player who led Dallas, TX’s best R &B and soul band from the late 50s to the late 60s, the Arrows. He employed some excellent vocalists to front the outfit including R L Griffin and James Lynn Marsh. But the guy who were most responsible for the band’s sound has received very little attention from critics so far sadly – and his talents deserve so much better treatment.

red Lowery was Thomas’ arranger, guitarist, writer and sometime singer who was prominent on several of Big Bo’s best recordings. Take the superb Bobby Bland styled ListenWait And See on Duchess which appears to be Lowery’s first 45 credit. The arrangement is just outstanding and Lowery shines not only for his axe work but also for the lovely emotive and very soulful vocal.

he rare and celebrated Northern R & B of “Can’t Get Enough Of My Baby’s Love” followed on a couple of years later and was Lowery’s first Gay Shel credit. Although the top side is OK I much prefer the rather jazzy and slinky ballad on the flip. ListenIt May Be A Lifetime really does show off Lowery’s fine vocal style to good effect.

ou’re Not Worth The Tears from 1966 is very much in the Bland bag and is if anything even better than the Duchess 45. This superb track first appeared on Big Bo’s own Gay Shel imprint before being rightfully leased out to Atco for national distribution. Sadly it sank without trace but can acknowledged now as a blues ballad masterpiece.

he flip was a strong southern groover “I’m Sorry” and this style was also followed for his next Gay Shel release. “Daddy’s Baby” is really strong R & B on a familiar theme and the flip “Work With Me Annie” is a nice reminder of those Hank Ballard & the Midnighters sagas from a decade earlier."I'll Take Care Of You My Love” on which Lowery is again very good on both guitar and vocals didn’t get a Gay Shel airing before coming out on Cotillion in 1970 with the fine funky “Ride The Iron Horse” on the flip.


And that appears to be Lowery’s last 45. We could have done with a lot more from this gifted musician.


ListenWait and see / Goodbye ~ DUCHESS 1012 (1962)
Can’t get enough of my baby’s love / ListenIt may be a lifetime ~ GAY SHEL 403 (1963/4?)
Thousand miles away / Done got over it ~ CHECKER 1068 (1964)
I’m sorry / ListenYou’re not worth the tears ~ GAY SHEL 201/2 / ATCO 6430 (1966)
Daddy’s baby / Work with me Annie ~ GAY SHEL 7868 (1968?)
Ride the iron horse / I’ll take care of you my love ~ COTILLION 44084 (1970)

UPDATE ~ Thanks to Jaap Hindriks for reminding me about the Checker 45 - now in the discography.

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