The Life and Music of Fred Hughes


Introduction to Fred Hughes

Fred Hughes (not to be confused with another singer Freddie Hughes, who hailed from Oakland, California and is best known for his R&B hit “Send My Baby Back”) is an American R&B singer who figured in the 60s music era. Hughes was born in Arkansas but grew up in Compton, California. He was one of Vee Jay Records’ last artists who hit it big before the label folded in the mid-1960s. Hughes’ “Ooo Wee, Baby I Love You” hit the Top 40 pop chart in 1965. His other singles landed on the R&B chart: “Baby Boy” and “I Understand,” both released on Brunswick label.

Life and career

Fred Hughes is an American country singer born in Arkansas but relocated to Compton, California. Around 1962, Hughes had his first recording while attending Compton High School where he became a member of The Cymbals and The Creators as well.

Later, Hughes released a record on Vee-Jay which made Hughes’ career picking up steam. He scored the hits “Ooo Wee Baby, I Love You,” which peaked at #3 on the R&B singles chart and #23 on the pop chart. Another single, “You Can’t Take It Away,” also made on the Top 20 R&B and #96 on pop. These singles were penned and produced by Vee Jay’s A&R man, Richard Parker. Hughes issued two more records after leaving Vee-Jay.

Hughes hopscotched from label to label — from Veejay, he moved to Exodus, then Cadet and finally to Brunswick. He issued two records for the first two labels and three for Brunswick. But unfortunately, these records did not make any commercial impact. However, his first recordings on Brunswick  became minor hits  — Baby Boy” which peaked at #25 and “I Understand” at #45, both on the R&B charts.

In 2014, Hughes’ hit in 1969, “Baby Boy” was featured in the British historical film, Northern Soul.

Fred Hughes’ recordings on Vee Jay Records (1965-1966)

  • “Ooo Wee Baby, I Love You”
  • “Love Me Baby”
  • “You Can’t Take It Away”
  • “My Heart Cries Oh”
  • “Don’t Let Me Down”
  • “My Heart Cries Oh”

Exodus Records (1966)

  • “I Keep Tryin'”
  • “We’ve Got Love”
  • “As Long As We’re Together”
  • “Walk on Back To You”

Cadet Records (1967-1969)

  • “Come Home Little Darlin’
  • “Can’t Make It Without You”
  • “Love is Ending”
  • “Baby Don’t Go”

Brunswick Records (1969-1971)

  • “Baby Boy”
  • “Who You Really Are”
  • “I Understand”
  • “Ooo Wee Baby, I Love You”
  • Don’t Let This Happen to Us”
  • “In My Time of Need”
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