Buford Wilson “Sonny” Fishback was a really fine soul vocalist and songwriter but sadly never recorded enough titles – but every one of his releases is worth owning. He never made a bad 45. His initial sides were released under the name “Sonny Fisher” and despite the fact that they came out on southern labels were cut in New York/New Jersey like all his sides. Hurting is a very fine deep waltz time ballad full of lovely touches like the horns and strong drumming but especially Fishback’s expressive tenor vocals – you’ve got to love those falsetto screams as the song finishes.
Oh Love This Is Sonny is much more famous that his Peacock 45. The dance fans really go for this storming uptempo number – and even I can appreciate a superior foot tapper like this melodic one, especially when it is sung with such verve and enthusiasm. It’s possible he reverted to his own name for his next release to avoid confusion with the rockabilly artist Sonny Fisher.
Sonny’s Out-A-Site 45 is an interesting one. It was issued twice with different versions of “Heart Breaking Man” on it, one slower than the other, but neither version does anything for me. But the other side certainly does - and it really has been scandalously neglected while all the attention is focussed on the dance side. After a horn flourish kicking off I Won’t Take Back These Words Sonny comes in hard and strong on this lovely deep number. The stop/go at the end of each verse is really well handled by arranger Robert Banks. But Fishback is just tremendous.
As indeed he is on what was to be his last 45. The duet with Diane Carter That’s Enough is yet another killer. The “call and response” way they trade vocals is excellent, and their harmonies on the chorus match that standard. The chugging rhythm and sweetening of horns/strings are perfectly pitched by veteran Horace Ott as well. Even though it is over 3 minutes long it still seems as though it’s over far too soon.
UPDATE ~ I've heard from Mr Fisher himslef and he confirms that he is indeed the same guy who wrote the interesting book here. Sadly he hasn't entered into a correspondence with me yet.
As SONNY FISHER
Hurting / I’m going all the way ~ PEACOCK 1947 (1966)
Oh love this is Sonny / Pt 2 ~ TOU-SEA 130 (1967)
As SONNY FISHBACK
1. “Oh love this is Sonny” can be found on the Grapevine 2000 CD “Crescent City Soul Patrol”.