Right Said Fred were formed in 1989, with Richard on vocals and bass, and Fred on guitar. Before that, Richard was employed as a session bassist for artists including Boy George, Mick Jagger and David Bowie, and appears as the bass guitarist in Bowie’s short film Jazzin’ for Blue Jean. In 1987, Fred appeared as a guitarist in the Bob Dylan vehicle Hearts of Fire. The group was named after the novelty song “Right Said Fred,” which was a hit single for singer and actor Bernard Cribbins in 1962. The Fairbrass brothers were accompanied by drummer Ray Weston and guitarist Dan Kruse.
Weston left in 1990 to join the progressive rock group Wishbone Ash and Kruse left the next year. Guitarist Rob Manzoli joined in 1990 and remained with the group until 1997. They’ve had a string of albums since then, and they’re back with the follow up to their 2017 release, with – “Puttin´ On The Ritz – A Tribute To Fred Astaire” produced by Rainer C. Regatschnig, Justin Fidèle and Wolfgang Lohr. And leading it off is the Irving Berlin written classic for the dance duet in the movie – Follow The Fleet – with Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers, “Let’s Face The Music And Dance.”
They make it all their own without dismissing the original version and that is never easy to do, in fact it’s hardly ever done. And even if you delve back into the original song you can see how much they respected the original work in the greater scheme of things to cover such an old tune and make it pop like they do. It’s well worth the price of admission for this album and then some. They put everything they have into a cover without carbon copying it, and it suits the whole Right Said Fred theme to be spicing up such classy tracks with their own signature stamped all over it.
They waste no time getting right down to business, so, whether you know and like the song or not, they do their best to make sure the point is to get up and dance. The music and the message are separated as if isolated to their own tracks, and the rest mixes out with precision timing. This will not let any of their fan base down, and that’s just one of the good things about it. The track succeeds in everything its set out to achieve, without making you forget about the original. It’s an amazing effort to come off modern without changing it completely beyond recognition.
For all Right Said Fred have done over the years, it stands right up to everything they’ve done, which a lot of the time includes paying homage to greats of the past, including Jimi Hendrix on their most well-known cut, which he was credited for on their first album. And notice how well they live it all down without any grandiosity beyond their own mild but very effective gimmicks. The humor matches the groove they slap on everything, and that’s one of the most awesome things about them. This is a premium effort as usual from them, and an enormous pre-cursor to what is an intriguing new album release. It wins on all counts.