Sunday, July 24, 2005

Frankie "Zeke" Hart: I Am The Red Devil/The Devil's High (Specialty 696)


Specialty Records is best known as the label that brought us Little Richard and Larry Williams and was home to loads of great rhythm & blues and gospel. Well, what we have here is one of the label's last releases and, quite possibly, one of the strangest. This 1970 item tells you what happens when you cheat on your wife or kill your best friend or shoot your mother in the back for her money sack. That's right: the devil awaits. But no, this is no right-wing Christian tract. It's got a little too much soul for that. It opens with the devil cackling madly over his victims' cries of "Master! Master! Then, over a slow tempo groove of 70's style funk complete with rolling piano and chunky guitar wah-wah, we hear the stories of Joe Smith messing around with Charlie Jones wife and Big Ben thinking he was going to win after he's committed murder. But the devil has other ideas. "But now he knows how the game goes," the singer intones. And then the devil pipes in with, "For now he belongs to me! And surely he will burn from my fire tree!" followed by a wild, maniacal laugh. "I AM THE DEVIL!!!" he shouts gleefully! "PUT MORE COAL ON THE FIRE! HEEHEEHEEHAWHAW! BURN MY DISCIPLES! HAHAHAHAHA!!" We also get saxophone riffs that signify the downward spirals of the devil's victims. So remember, friends, the devil is always watching you! "The Devil's High" is basically the instrumental version of the A-side with a few of the devil's crazy laugh's sprinkled in here and there. See, I told you it was weird.

15 comments:

stpetered said...

I woke up this morning, June 18, 2006 after a long dream about Zeke Hart, my boyfriend back in about 1967 in Hollywood and decided to hunt for him on the web. He was often referred to as Zeke The Freak, which was a reference to his lovelife. I am not aware that he ever made a record before this and only today learned about this one! Have not heard about him for 40 yrs! I have always wondered if he is still alive. He was nephew of Redd Foxx.
He would be about 70 now, I think.
He was quite a character, drove a black el dorado with a phone in it-- way back then! (calls went through the marine operator). He was in the "in crowd", we knew all the big names in music then. And the reference to "red devil" was probably partly based on him being light-complexioned with freckles and a bad-ass reputation - lightskinned African Americans were often nicknamed "Red".

If anyone knows whatever happened to him, please write me - rohana@copper.net

Thanks!

Todd Lucas said...

What a terrific comment, probably the best we've ever received on this blog! Some great information too. Thank you!

FH said...

This is the son and daughter of Zeke. We want to thank the people responsible for posting this information. Yea, Zeke is a quite a character. True to life. Stay true to the good in you.

FH/FH

Todd Lucas said...

Hello son and daughter. Please feel free to tell us more about your dad.

Niles said...

ZEKE HART--
Well, well, well...I can't believe it! I found someone who dated him and two of his children! Folks, you must---all of you---get in touch with me! I knew Zeke in 1968 and the details--how I knew him---will amaze you. I lived with him and his brother Alton. Not least, is he still alive? Where can I contact him? He'd fall out of his chair if he heard from me. I was a kid then. It'd be great to reconnect. I have so many memories and stories to share. Write me at this email:

limeorchardroad@yahoo.com.

Oddly enough, Lime Orchard Road is the street name of the house we lived in. Freaky!

Jwilson said...

Haven't seen Zeke either. My father is Don Wilson, the producer and writer of the song. He had a label, Wilstone Records, back in the 60's, but worked with Specialty on this one.

Anonymous said...

How strange that I would find this page..I've been trying to forget what this cruel, twisted bully of a pimp did to me for decades. He may have been talented, but he was also a cold blooded pimp that use to beat me beyond recognition when I tried to leave him. He was a despicable coward and he's lucky I didn't kill him when I had the chance. I finally fought back and knocked him in the head with the butt of a gun. He wasn't so tough when the tables were turned and he thought he was about to die. He cried like a blubbering baby. He was a heroin addict and a mastermind at making a living off women. The "true" Frankie "Zeke" Hart was nothing but a monster and a low life, cruel, drugged out woman beating coward. I look at the scar on my face that he put there from beating me almost to death when I tried to break away from him. If I wasn't a believer in Jesus Christ and required to forgive, it would be impossible to do so without God's help. There is a book to come that will hopefully ward off monsters like him from innocent and unsuspecting young girls whose lives get snatched away into the hellishness of that kind of life. Red Devil indeed, I would venture to say he's burning in hell right now for what he has done. And if he's alive? God have mercy on his soul...

day1 said...

Hello Anonymous. Wonderful technology today. In the early 70's this immediate connection was viewed on Star Trek. I am very glad to hear your in Christ. I too am born again. I guess we both shared Zeke in different and estranged ways. These things I know. No matter who the individuals are when you divulge in "the life," unfortunately, all cards are on the table. 'The life" was never meant to have happy endings, although it always appeared at times to be so. I'm sorry to hear you had such a terrible ordeal. But it couldn't have all been bad. Sometimes we as human beings don't know when to let go. And, sometimes its the things we detest so much that is the hardest to let go (Even when we know we can.)


I rejoiced in your freedom in Christ Jesus. And, that your brokenness has been made whole. For GOD draws nigh to the broken heartened and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Think not of him as a monster but rebuke the demon that tries to make us all into monsters. Whether your administering wrong trying to do right, or receiving right from doing wrong, its all connected to a bad end. But thank GOD for Jesus! I am Zeke's son. I may have met you. I'm not sure. I was in LA in 73'.

I don't know if he's alive or well. But, I will pray for his salvation. And, I will pray for you as well. Thank you for reaching out.


In Christ,

F. R. H. Jr.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your gracious reply after reading my angry reaction to seeing Zeke's name. I honestly thought I had forgiven him, but my adverse reaction clearly shows I had not. The enemy wants to get a foothold any way he can to discredit our testimony and render us ineffective. I have repented for that rant, and although the truth is what it is, God spared my life for a reason, to share His miracle touch on my life to let me live to help others, and be an example of His great love. I certainly failed here and I ask your forgiveness as well.
I thank God you know Jesus as your Savior, and thank you for your prayers. You are showing the true heart and love of God. My own biological father abandoned me, so I also know how that feels. But we have the greatest love of all, our Father in heaven, Christ Jesus. I speak Blessing into your life and will remember you in prayer as well. You have been an instrument in my healing and of those memories... only a follower of Christ could step out in love like this. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Thank you for speaking out. I was Zeke's girlfriend but eventually it all came out, he was a pimp and his girls hated him taking me out everywhere. Soon, hitting with a fire poker,he attacked me in front of them, clearly putting on a show for them, at his home up on Woodrow Wilson drive. A few days later, I escaped from a safe friends apartment with a police escort I requested after he was outside banging on the door. Had them take me to a friend's home in Trousdale, Paul Raffles, who owned famous Hollywood dance club and he sent me via taxi to the airport.

Even yrs later, though now decades ago, I'd have dreams of victorious confrontation, just raging at him till he got it. But it's so long ago. I was underage, vulnerable, prey for predators like him. Men like him are sociopaths. Sorry for you kids of his, sounds like you've used religion to find solace.

Did anyone know Trish Sharpe or Trisha Hart? She looked like Elizabeth Taylor. She was my best friend. Zeke got to her later, but she kept him wrapped around her finger. I've been searching for her for almost 45 yrs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Thank you for speaking out. I was Zeke's girlfriend but eventually it all came out, he was a pimp and his girls hated him taking me out everywhere. Soon, hitting with a fire poker,he attacked me in front of them, clearly putting on a show for them, at his home up on Woodrow Wilson drive. A few days later, I escaped from a safe friends apartment with a police escort I requested after he was outside banging on the door. Had them take me to a friend's home in Trousdale, Paul Raffles, who owned famous Hollywood dance club and he sent me via taxi to the airport.

Even yrs later, though now decades ago, I'd have dreams of victorious confrontation, just raging at him till he got it. But it's so long ago. I was underage, vulnerable, prey for predators like him. Men like him are sociopaths. Sorry for you kids of his, sounds like you've used religion to find solace.

Did anyone know Trish Sharpe or Trisha Hart? She looked like Elizabeth Taylor. She was my best friend. Zeke got to her later, but she kept him wrapped around her finger. I've been searching for her for almost 45 yrs.

Anonymous said...

To Zeke's son and daughter. Wish you'd post a pic of him from old days, when he was close with big daddy eddie Templeton and frequently was at the Players restaurant club on Sunset Blvd. James Brown table hopping, often joined us, as did many other entertainers back in the day.

Matty Hart said...

Hello all I'm Zeke's oldest grandson please feel free to share more info please I've been searching for him since i was a child

Anonymous said...

I hope he died a miserable, painful, lonely death in maximum security in prison. Thank goodness people can be wonderful, humane and live worthwhile lives despite the horrors committed by their ancestors. These comments reveal that he abandoned his children and his grandchildren, who rarely or ever met him.

All that jesus and religion talk is fine if it gives comfort to his victims, but has nothing to do with truth and reality. He had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He looked like a businessman, like an accountant, not flashy at all, wore glasses, well made Rodeo Drive quality clothing. He certainly did not appear to be a heroin addict and I never saw evidence of that. It seemed he was the right hand man to his best friend, Eddie Templeton, a huge fat wealthy businessman, and was also was a music and club promoter, so he knew a lot of famous people. I figured that's where he got his money. It was a few months before he revealed his true self to me. He was a predator, not a term or concept used in the 60s. I suspect he must have got away with terrible crimes against many young teen girls. I escaped him after he tried to exploit me and attacked me when I naively thought I was simply breaking off what I'd been led to believe was just an exciting, star filled, fun relationship in which he paid my apt rent and sent me clothes shopping and introduced me to famous performers because he had a crush on me and I looked good on his arm. Thank goodness for LA cops I called to get me safely into a taxi to the airport. I was one of the lucky ones.

Howie Pyro said...

Wow...heavy stuff...well he wasn't the only one on specialty records with that history...I was researching a few songs & this came up...was this all in LA or was it elsewhere as well (New Orleans?) thanks for surviving...