Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase Robert Bobby

Robert Bobby

A boy was born in Philadelphia, PA and his name was Joe Milsom. His folks moved to the suburbs when he was four years old. He attended Marple-Newtown High School and was president of his Junior & Senior Class.

His brother Bob turned him on to Bob Dylan via The Freewheelin Bob Dylan album in the early 60's & he was never right after that. He frequented the Main Point as often as he could while in high school. The first show he saw was The Mitchell Trio. Chad Mitchell's wife was having a baby so he was not there. That left the other 2 members to play & one of them was John Denver. Believe it or not, John Denver was very good.

After that, Joe saw people like Dave Van Ronk & Chris Smither every time they came thru town. Other memorable shows were Steve Goodman, Tom Rush, Arlo Guthrie at 18 years old, Muddy Waters, Tim Buckley, Commander Cody, Jackson Brown opening up for Chris Smither, Jerry Jeff Walker & David Bromberg opening for Jake Holmes, & on & on.

In February of 1966 our young hero attended his first Bob Dylan concert at the Academy of Music in Philly. He was in the next to last row. Tickets were like $3.50 maybe. During the first half of the show when Dylan played solo, you could have heard a pin drop. The 2nd half he rocked out in his stove pipe pants suit - bouncing back on one foot-Rock history in the making.

Our hero attended Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA where there was quite a substantial blues scene. Occasionally, Duke Robillard would come to play-back when he was called "Honeybear". He had a great Chicago style blues band & he would wear flannel shirts & bib overalls & had these mutton chops (not to mention guitar chops). Later, after Honeybear became Duke he formed a short lived band called "Black Cat" that played a time or two at FUM. It was a hellacious 5 piece unit with Duke on lead, Johnny Nicholas on rhythm guitar, Frannie Christina on Drums, Steve Nardella on Harp & a bass player whose name I can't remember. There also was a nifty blues band named "Cottonmouth" at F&M which was very influential in our hero's musical development. Cottonmouth members had some colorful nicknames like Mobutu , Foxy, Barnie & Crawfish. Two members of Cottonmouth, Bobby Schmidt & Bobby Kinsley, ended up in The Speedboys.

The point is- you blend all this early folk stuff with a heavy dose of electric blues -oh yeah & all the rock influences like the Beatles & Stones & did I mention he attended Woodstock-that's another story-and the next thing you know our hero is undergoing a name change operation & becomes ROBERT BOBBY and is front man and main singer/songwriter for THE SPEEDBOYS who released critically acclaimed albums in 1981 & 1983.

Reviews came in from Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Musician Magazine, Boston Phoenix, Philadelphia Inquirer, LA Herald Examiner & others. Naturally, The Speedboys didn't have a clue about the business part of the music business & soon broke up. Our hero, now named Robert Bobby, released a solo album called "Chilly Wind" and a 3rd release under the Speedboys name called "Positively James Street".

After wandering in the desert (no wait, that was someone else) some years passed and here we are in the year 2003 and as if times aren't scary enough, Robert Bobby has resurfaced with his new cd (they aren't albums anymore) F*U*B*A*R. F*U*B*A*R is more acoustically oriented than the prior albums but the same elements are there: catchy songs & heartfelt performances.

F*U*B*A*R has been getting a nice amount of airplay on folk radio shows.


Page put together (with info & pics from Bob Gramann ) by Ernest Ackermann.
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