|The One Eyed Boogie Boy hung up his Rock 'n' Roll Shoes
One of Britain's most colourful characters on the rock 'n' roll circuit is 'Freddie Fingers Lee'. Freddie for many years has been a great influence on many of us throughout the 1970's through to today. But due to Freddie's condition it has just been confirmed that he has instructed his management to cancel all his bookings indefinitely. This is what Paul Barrett had to say: "It is sad news indeed but Freddie 'Fingers' Lee has had another stroke. He had to advise me to cancel all his bookings for the foreseeable future. This is a day I hoped never to see, but Fred has hung up his rock' n' roll shoes. We can only hope he will be able to put them on again some day".
Fred Cheeseman started out as a guitar player in the 1950's in various skiffle bands, but after hearing Jerry Lee Lewis's "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" on the radio in 1957, the piano became his tool of the trade. He began playing with Screaming Lord Sutch, and later Eden Cane's band, performing with such greats as Cliff Richard and Marty Wilde. Freddie then left England for Hamburg which at that time "was the place to be". Again, playing with Dave Sutch until he joined a band playing at venues such as the "Top Ten Club" and the "Star Club". Whilst there he met up with Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee, to name but a few.
During the 1970's rock 'n' roll revival Freddie moved back over to England being the English answer to Jerry Lee Lewis. Promoters all wanted to book him along for his original stage show with cowboy act, and an eye patch (Freddie only has one eye), as he attacks the piano with his feet or any other part of his body. It was easy for him to stand on his head and continue to play the lead to "High School Confidential". He's even been known to remove his glass eye, drop it into a pint of beer, swirl it around, drink it, then replace the eye back from where he got it. I remember seeing him for the first time on video, it was on "Blue Suede Shoes", taken at the 1979 rock 'n' roll festival at Caister. He drove the crowd wild with his renditions of "Little Queeny" and "Light's Out". I was totally committed to the screen when I saw him attack a piano with an axe. Up until that point I had never seen anything like that. There were many more memorable moments, such as when he accidentally set fire to the curtains at Stockport Town Hall. Not even the fire brigade could stop him from playing. Freddie is a one of a kind act, and one that will never be repeated.
He went on to record such great tunes as: 'I'm a Nut', 'One Eyed Boogie Boy', 'My Bucket's Got A Hole In It', and 'Down On The Farm'. He's recorded numerous singles, 8 albums, and over a dozen compellations. Freddie's following, in the UK and across the water in to Europe, is as strong as ever. We all hope that he'll soon be able to play, and entertain us all once more. Get well soon Freddie, we all love you.
Courtesy of Mike Cookson, April 2004