posted October 3rd, 2013

The grandson of a night club owner, from small town Frackville, PA, Frederick Michael St. Jude played in bands as a teenage rockster, dominating the local club scene with his band The Other Side, who eventually had a regional radio hit in 1969 with their version of Terry Reid's "Writing On The Wall." After relocating to South Florida, St. Jude (then known as Freddie Dengler) was called up to record again with The Other Side, this time in Columbia Records' studio. As legend would have it, the band's recording lost out to those made by the one and only Blue Oyster Cult, who went on to some degree of marginal fame, so the story goes. Not to be deterred, Frederick Michael shed his birth surname, adapted the St. Jude persona, and began feverishly writing his own songs.

Recorded for Fort Lauderdale's SRS International on a one year deal (shortly before they mysteriously and abruptly shut their doors), Frederick Michael St. Jude's album, Here Am I, was released on SRS' Soul Deep imprint in 1977. When SRS flew by night not long afterwards, the first wave of F.M. St. Jude was over just as it was set to begin. Here Am I provides an intoxicating glow of witty, cantankerous and ultimately atomic rock songs primed for 3rd-shift AM radio, vocally amalgamated with a South Floridian take on Thin-White-Duke-meets-W.-Axl-Rose delivery, but with deeper-seeded broken-hearted resignation than either of the two could possibly conjure, left to their own devices. Oddly arranged with futuristic sounds of the day, blending top-40 style singer-songwriter-isms with both kraut-beats, classic rock vibes, and early synth accents, Here Am I wasn't given a proper leg to stand on when first released. And who are we, if not the dependable stump providing footing for freaky geniuses? When brought to our attention some 35-ish years later, Frederick Michael St. Jude fit right in, as he'll fit right into your record collection come October 15th. Take a sneak peek, and hear from F.M. himself; behold! Thee Frederick Michael St. Jude speaks of Here Am I:

Artists in this story: Frederick Michael St. Jude