Robert D Blum

June 1, 1934 – February 2, 2012bob blum picture


Robert David Blum, 77, of Puyallup, WA, died February 2, 2012, at Life Care Center of Puyallup.

Cash  Box; July 14, 1956

Mr. Blum was born June 1, 1934, in Gilliam, MO, to Freddy David Blum and Marguerete Katherine Narron.

He attended high school at NE High School in Kansas City, MO. Robert is a veteran of the United States Air Force.

Although Robert held many jobs, Robert’s life was his music. Robert traveled the United States playing country music with some of the biggest stars in the industry; everybody called him ‘Cowboy Bob’/’Bob the Guitar Man’. Many have compared his guitar playing to the legendary Chet Atkins. His prized guitar is a Chet Atkins Gretch, the only guitar he played throughout his entire career. Merle Haggard and George Jones were two of many of his favorite musicians. He was inducted into Sioux Falls, SD Legends of Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011. He sang and played his guitar up until he became seriously ill.

Robert was pre-deceased by his parents, Fred and Marguerete , his only son Robert Dumont Blum, Jr. and his wife Rose.

He is survived by his daughters: Valerie Packer of Burien, WA; Cindy Barnes of Puyallup, WA; daughter and son-in-law Julie and Rodney Wickman of Vancouver, WA and six grandsons.

Plans for a ‘Celebration of Life’ gathering are pending for the summer of 2012 and will be announced.


I was born in Gilliam, Missouri on June 1, 1934. My parents, Fred D. Blum and my mother Marguerete Katherine Blum, were divorced in the early 40’s and myself and my two younger sisters were raised by our mother. My mother was a brave, hard working woman. She worked as a meat cutter for Safeway and other chain stores most of her life to support herself and me and my two sisters. My mother passed away in 1992, but she will always be with me in my heart.

I guess I’ve had a guitar in my hands since I was about 6 years old. I remember my mom had an old Sears & Roebuck guitar that she used to play a few chords on and she used to sing and I would sit and watch and listen. I would try to memorize where she would hold her fingers to make the chords and then when she would lay the guitar down, I would try to remember where she put her fingers and I would spend hours and hours learning to play the guitar that way.

After I learned to play the guitar a little, I started learning how to sing the same way; watching, listening and learning. Well, it wasn’t too long before me and my two younger sisters and two younger cousins were singing for all kinds of church gatherings, union hall meetings, Red Feather campaign’s, etc.

There was a band in Kansas City, Missouri known as ‘The Rhythm Riders’; we were named after them and known as ‘The Junior Rhythm Riders’.

My mom used to take us to all kinds of talent contest held around the Kansas City bars. Seems like we won just about every contest we ever entered. We also appeared at the Ivanhoe Masonic Temple in Kansas City several times where they would have Grand Ole’ Opry stars and local talent perform every Saturday night. That’s where I first met and played on the same stage with people like Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Sr., Minnie Pearl, Rod Brassfield and others.

After high school (NE Senior High), I joined the Air Force and that’s where I met my wife-to-be in Biloxi, Mississippi. We had three wonderful children, however, we lost our son to brain cancer in 1993; he was only 39 years old. A few years later, I had another beautiful daughter with my second wife. After being discharged from the Air Force, we moved back to Kansas City, Missouri, Where I played just about all the clubs there.

In 1954, my wife and I moved to Seattle, Washington where my wife was from. I couldn’t find any work in music, so we moved to Eugene, Oregon where I joined up with grand Pappy Smith and the Western Valley Boys. While in Eugene, Oregon, I cut two or three records [on Orbit]

orbit blum stars

orbit blum thanks

March 31, ’56

orbit blum time

orbit blum before

and then we moved back to Kansas City, Missouri around 1956. I was playing at Baldwin’s Tavern when a fellow by the name of Johnny White (not the one on Fortune and Citation out of Detroit, early ’50s, which was fronted by Skeets McDonald – remember “The Tattoed Lady” ?) stopped by and asked me if I would like to come to work with him in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and we discussed the situation and I started playing music with Johnny White and the Son’s of the West in January of 1957. We played at Johnny’s Club Cabana six nights a week and did a T.V. show at station K-E-L-O five days a week every day at noon. I also did a radio show at K-I-S-D daily from 11:05 to 12:00 noon and 3:05 to 5:00 p.m. Every once in a while we would do a remote from Ray’s Drive-Inn.

orbit blum tell

In the summer, we would travel around doing all kinds of rodeos and fairs. While working with Johnny White, we met many movie stars and Opry stars like Johnny Cash and Luther Perkins, Faron Young, Little Jimmy Dickens, Stonewall Jackson, George Jones, Smiley Burnett, Dave Dudley, Dub Taylor (Cannon Ball), etc. In June of 1962, I left Johnny White and the Son’s of the West and moved to Portland, Oregon where I joined up with Mary Rogers and her husband Doug. We stared out at a club called Taylor’s Viewpoint, which only seated about 125 people. While we were there, they enlarged the club twice to finally seat 500 people. After about two years, I left to form my own band, which consisted of Kurt Nichols on steel guitar, Pat Webb on drums and Jim Barnett on bass. I later replaced Pat Webb on drums with Dale Snyder and I replaced Jim Barnett on bass with a young man named Steve West. Steve West had previously played with Paul Revere and the Raiders. Steve played the guitar part on ‘Louie, Louie’ recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

vanco blum fast

late ’50s issue?

vanco blum stand

In 1965, I played at a club called the Flower Drum for about a year. While at the Flower Drum, I had the honor and pleasure of performing with Bobby Bare. After leaving the Flower Drum, I went to a club called the Turfside. While there, the owners bought another club, which they named the Wagon. While working at the Turfside and the Wagon, I had the pleasure of working with such stars as Tommy Collins, Rose Maddox, Kay Adams, Bonnie Owens, Merle Haggard, Red Simpson, Charlie Pride, Dick Curless and others. After leaving the Wagon, I went to the Oasis Club in Goldendale, Washington. While there, we played with Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins, Freddie Hart and others. While at the Oasis, the owner and I teamed up and became owners of Ripcord Recordings Co., of Vancouver, Washington where I cut several records. Also, we did some recordings with Buck Owens, Wynn Stewart and others.

ripcord blum elephants

1968 issue

ripcord blum woman

After 1971, I left the Oasis, sold out my interest in Ripcord Records, traveled around for a few years and retired in January of 1980.

(Dignity Memorial/Powers Funeral Home, Puyallup, WA)


Obit and story from « Some Local Loser » blogsite.

Thanks to Udo Frank for the Orbit label scans. Others scans do come from my collection or the net.


A short survey on Bob Blum’s music (from bopping editor)

2 of the 4 Orbit cuts are slowies, but the standout track is the medium romper (great steel) “Rompin’ Stompin’ Good Time“. “Thanks To You” is equally a nice track. “Step It Fast” is a fast number, while the Ripcord tunes I heard are a bit poppish.
Where are the stars“(Orbit 101)