western roster is eighteen year old Bobby Roberts.
Young Bobby was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on
September 12, 1937. Bobby always dreamed of becoming a
recording artist and he started getting his experience
young. He appeared in a musical show when only nine.
Both his mother and father encouraged Bobby in his
chosen career. Young Bobby Roberts did part time work
to help him through high school. He was graduated in
June 1953 and began going about the task of gaining
experience in the music world. His biggest thrill was
when over three thousand persons attended one of his
personal appearances. Roberts has worked as a grocery
clerk, car hop, shined shoes, polished cars and washed
dishes, always dreaming of becoming a professional
musician‘.(as written on the DJ bio copy of King 4868)
At least some factual data can now be gleaned on
Roberts’ origins. He recorded one session for King in August
1955 and I’m assuming that it is the same Bobby
Roberts that recorded for the Memphis based Hut label
in 1958. However, I’m not entirely convinced that the
Roberts on Sky is the same person. I base this
assumption on aural evidence (the vocalists on both
records contrast distinctly) and the fact that Sky was
based in Mississippi. Having said that, from a logical
point of view it most likely is the same Roberts on
all three labels, as Joe Griffith, a high school
friend of Roberts, covered both of Roberts’ Sky
recordings and both were apparently based in Memphis
at the time. Further, considering Roberts Tennessee
origins, it possibly is the same Roberts on all four
My query here is, can anyone confirm that the Bobby
Roberts on King, Sky and Hut is the same person? Or
can anyone else shed any light at all on this? It has to
be noted Roberts wrote all his material.
Using a number of different sources, I managed to
compile the following Bobby Roberts discography,
19 August 1955. Cincinnati, Ohio
Bobby Roberts And The Ozark Drifters.
Bobby Roberts – vcl, other personnel unknown : steel, fiddle,st-bass.
K3995 ‘Her And My Best Friend’ King 4868
K3996 ‘I’m Gonna Comb You Outta My Hair’ King 4837
“I’m gonna comb you outta my hair”
“My undecided heart”
“I’m pulllin’ stakes and leavin’ you”
K3997 ‘My Undecided Heart’ King 4837
K3998 ‘I’m Pullin’ Stakes And Leavin’ You’ King 4868
45-S-34 ‘Big Sandy’ Sky 56-101
45-S-33 ‘She’s My Woman’ Sky 56-101
“She’s my woman”
Bobby Roberts with Bad Habits. Memphis, TN, label.
Bobby Roberts – vcl, other personnel unknown : ld-g,b,d.
“Hop, skip and jump”
4707 ‘Cravin” Hut 881
from the notes of Shane Hughes, « Yahoo » « rockin’ records» group.
This Roberts has obviously nothing to do with the one on U.S.A. label and the other on Cameo, who came later early ’60s, and drastically change in style. Nothing to do too with Media (Philadelphia) or GMA artists.
Bobby Roberts’ music, from editor’s point of view.
It is hard to imagine such a change in so little time in style between the King session and the Sky one.
All 4 sides cut at King (« with the Ozark Drifters ») are pure dreamed hillbilly a la Hank Williams. All medium paced tracks, they feature a strong string-bass, and a weird steel-guitar, both propelled by a crisp fiddle. Vocal is a dream, Roberts has a firm voice, even some semi-yodelling vocalizing over nice lyrics.
In complete contrast, the Sky sides are out-and-out rockers. « Big Sandy » is a screamer, and the whole thing is a gas. « She’s my woman », a bit slower, fetches to Rockabilly. Note on the reissue the presence of the Jennings Brothers.
« Cravin’ » is a routinely rocker, while « Hop skip and jump » (not the Collins Kids’ number, neither the York Brothers’ on Bullet ) is an average rocker – even a sax – which Billy Riley could have cut this style. Actually it bears a little similarity with « Pearly Lee »..
The son to Bobby Roberts once posted in « bopping » that his father was the same man on King, Sky and Hut ; so I asked for some details and a picture, if available – no answer..
With thanks to Uncle Gil (King 4868 sound file) and Dave Cruse (King 4868 label scan). Internet research.
Joe Griffith “Big Sandy” (Reelfoot unissued)
Joe Griffith “She’s my woman“(Reelfoot unissued)