Early rock-and-rollers The Bobby Fuller Four get covered a lot. Well, one of their songs does: “I Fought the Law.” To know much else, you’d have to be a superfan. And Tom Heyman is.
The longtime sideman for Chuck Prophet, John Doe, Alejandro Escovedo, and more returns to his pub-rock roots on upcoming solo album Show Business, Baby. In addition to a bunch of original tunes that sound like they could be 1960s deep cuts, a pair actually are: Dion’s “Daddy Rollin’ In Your Arms” and The Bobby Fuller Four’s “Baby My Heart.”
We’re pleased to premiere the latter cover below. But first, we asked us to tell him about it:
I learned this song off of a collection of Bobby Fuller Four alternate takes and B-sides called I Fought the Law on the French label Eva. I got the record in 1984 or ‘85 at a great shop called The Record Connection in Waterville, Maine, where I was going to college. I spent and inordinate amount of time there and Bob Richard, the owner, just seemed to know what I would be into and never steered me wrong.
I remember taking the record home and listening to it the way I used to listen to stuff back then: over, and over, and over again. I stared at the cover photo of the band, with their Cuban heels, and big Fender amps and imagined that I was in El Paso listening to them play live. I think the thing that drew me so deeply to Bobby Fuller – and to this song in particular – is the way he puts such a kinetic, almost dangerous rock and roll edge onto such a simple, well-crafted song. That, and the fact that to this day his tragically young death remains a real mystery. I guess the song is technically a cover of a cover since it was written by the great Sonny Curtis and previously recorded by The Crickets, but Bobby’s version is so brash, timeless and rocking, that it is really the only one that matters.
It was one of the last things we cut for my new record Show Business, Baby and we did it almost as an afterthought. I am only half joking when I refer this new one as “an excuse to see how many times I could unselfconsciously use the word baby on a record”…. “Baby My Heart” sure upped the count a bit.
I still have the original LP, and The Record Connection is still in business.