After WWII, New Orleans rocked to the sound of up-tempo Jump Blues, soon to be called R&B, driven by pounding piano riffs, funky drumming and light, clipped saxophones. Young men like Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis and Roy Brown laid the foundations for Rock’n’Roll when the music crossed over into the mainstream in the mid-50s. Frankie Ford was in the ‘second wave’ of New Orleans rockers, but his ‘Sea Cruise’ stormed the charts all over the world.
Smooth young Frankie performs ‘Sea Cruise’ on TV;
In 1962, Frankie was drafted into the Army (just as Elvis was discharged) and he was recruited by ‘Special Services’ to entertain troops in Korea and Vietnam. After his two years were up, music had changed radically following ‘The British Invasion’ and Frankie had trouble establishing himself again in the public eye. He hopped around several record companies in the 60s and developed a new, jazzier style. Frankie knew how to put on a show, so he developed his image as ‘The New Orleans Dynamo’. In 1984, he cut an album in London for Mike Vernon, with that as the title, where he put his stamp on some classic New Orleans material.
Frankie died in in his native Louisiana aged 76 on September 28, 2015