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by Shaun Mather and Phil Davies

It's ironic that Warren Smith will always be remembered first and formost as a rockabilly artist despite he longing to be accepted as a country singer. On the other side of the coin is Bob Luman, who will forever be associated with Nashville and country music, whereas in his heart he always treasured his rockabilly days. As rockabilly legend Rockin' Ronnie Weiser told me "When I asked Bob Luman in the 1970s, in the middle of the Hippie onslaught and the sugary sissy "Nashville Sound", when very few Americans even knew what the word "rockabilly" meant, when I asked him: "Bob, do you consider yourself a Country singer or a rockabilly singer??", Bob Luman roared back, without any hesitation whatsoever: " R O C K A B I L L Y !!!! For this short encounter, not even counting his superb musical output, I will always have a very fond memory of Bob Luman. He took a stand which could have damaged his career as a "Country" artist: he stood up for rockabilly!!"

Sounding like someone from west-Wales, he was born Robert Glynn Luman on 15th April 1937 in Blackjack, east Texas to Joe and Lavine Luman. Raised in Nacogdoches he learnt country music from his father who played various string instruments in local amatuer bands. Bob was sufficiently impressed to form his own high school group at Kilgore High, playing the current hits of heroes Lefty Frizzell and Webb Pierce. He was also the school's star baseball player and at one stage it looked like he might sign pro forms for the Pittsburg Pirates. Times were good for the handsome youngster, strutting his stuff on stage or on the diamond, and his only turmoil was which career to choose after graduation. His mind was made up for him when he witnessed the south's newest sensation Elvis Presley in May 1955 during a tour of Texas and Louisianna. As he recalled years later;
"This cat came out in red pants and a green coat and a pink shirt and socks, and he had this sneer on his face and he stood behind the mike for five minutes, I'll bet, before he made a move. Then he hit the guitar a lick, and he broke two strings. Hell, I'd been playing ten years, and I hadn't broken a total of two strings. So there he was, these two strings dangling, and he hadn't done anything except break these strings yet, and these high school girls were screaming and fainting and running up to the syage, and then he started to move his hips real slow like he had a thing for his guitar. He made chills run up your back, man, like when your hair starts grabbing at your collar. For the next nine days he played one-nighters around Kilgore, and after school every day me and my girl would get in the car and go wherever he was playing that night. That's the last time I tried to sing like Webb Pierce or Lefty Fizzell."

The first thing he did was to start booking himself as a rockabilly artist and before the year was out he went to songwriter Jim Shell in Dallas to cut a session. With backing from fellow Texan Mac Curtis' band, the Galbraith brothers Jim and Ken, they cut six tracks; Stranger Than Fiction, You're The Cause Of It All, That's Allright, Hello Baby, In The Deep Dark Jungle and Let Her Go, the majoity being raw, savage rockabilly. They remained unissued until Ronnie Weiser put them out in the 70's on his enterprising Rollin' Rock label as a single and an EP.

The next logical step was to join one of the two big shows, the Hayride or the Big D Jamboree. He plumbed for the Louisianna Hayride in Shreveport, replacing hot Memphis star, Johnny Cash. It appeared, from a later interview, that the Hayride job came about following a talent contest in Tyler, Texas from '56; "The artists there were the Browns, Tommy Sands, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Johnny Horton. Carl Perkins was supposed to be there. I was backstage and Johhny Horton said "Bob do you know Blue Suede Shoes?" and I said yes and he replied "Why don't ya do it tonight, you'll probably win the contest". I said yes and did it and encored 4 or 5 times and they (the show artists) said that's him. I won a spot on the Louisiana Hayride as a guest. Horace Logan asked "Hey, do ya wanna come back?" and that was the end of my baseball career!"

It was here that he picked up local boys James Burton, bass player James Kirkland, drummer Butch White and pianist Gene Garr. Burton was already making a name for himself both at the Hayride and on record, backing the likes of Johnny Horton, George Jones, Faron Young, Dale Hawkins and Slim Whitman - not back for a kid of 16! With a few helpful words from Imperial country stars, Whitman and Charlie Walker, Bob and the boys were signed to Imperial Records and on 27th February 1957 they entered the Sellars Studio in Dallas, ready to capture the world.

The first cut was Jim Shell's All Night Long, a mid-tempo bluesy item with James Burton enhancing his reputation. Amarillo Blues, the next song was a great slow blues which was destined to remain in the can for nearly thirty years. Unbelievably the same fate befell Wild Eyed Woman, a fine stroller with Burton sounding like Eddie Cochran on another killer solo. The next song tackled was the classic A Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache, which to these ears lacks some of the drive of Warren Smith's. A version with really naff girlie vocal backing was also cut but that see's little time on my turntable. Ben Halls' Blue Days Black Nights, a song done at an earl Buddy Holly session, completed the session. Again the vocals impress and Burton provides another great jerky solo, but the tune remained unissued. When Imperial 8311 came out, it backed Red Cadillac with All Night Long.

Nothing happened chart wise but they returned to the studio on 28th March to cut four more songs which formed his next two singles. Red Hot is a brilliant take on the old Sun favourite, with Luman's version standing comparisan to Billy "The Kid" Emerson and Billy Lee Riley. Driven along by White's Jimmy Van Eaton styled drumming and featuring another couple of superb James Burton licks, the song was released as Imperial 8313. For the flip, they chose the Dorsey Burnette penned Whenever You're Ready. Luman's vocals are full of playful confidence and Burton's guitar sounded like a mix of future licks he would employ with Ricky Nelson. Billboard gave the release the thumbs-up stating "Rockabilly side with a swamp sound in the vocal and the instrumental arrangement. Material is counrty blues. Luman shouts it wonderfully, with a chorus answering. Watch it." Adding of Whenever You're Ready, "Another rockabilly side. Material has not the swamp effect of the flip, but is strong in it's own right, with a rocking quality."

By mid '57, Hayride head honcho Horace Logan had joined Fabor Robinson in Los Angeles and when plans were agreed for Roger Corman to make a rock'n'roll B-movie, they called for Bob and the band to star. As well as Luman, the band, now known as the Shadows, backed the film's other featured artist, David Houston. They cut This Is The Night, All Night Long and an instrumental, The Creep which featured Luman on rhythm guitar. Sometime during the year, they also cut a session at the Abbott Studio in Escondido Canyon, California for Robinson, but the three tracks, No Use In Lying, That's Alright With Me and Hello Baby remained unissued.

Meanwhile, Make Up Your Mind Baby b/w Your Love formed Imperial 8315 and could have cracked the charts, as again the vocals and flowing, crystal clear guitar work helped make this up-tempo rocker a contender. Again, Billboard was more enthusiastic than the youth of America and Imperial released him. Kick number one was sore, but the teeth were really throbbing when Burton, Kirkland and White joined future rock 'n' roll heartthrob Ricky Nelson. On forming another band he took up a residency in Las Vegas where he remained until the first day in April '58 when he returned to Los Angeles for his new label Capitol. The Capitol Towers had housed many great rock 'n' roll sessions in the music's short life, but there can't have been many, more productive than this one. From the first notes of Everybody's Talkin' to the last ring of Try Me, the whole thing is a joy with Jackie Kelso's sax adding a new dimension. Half the tracks remained unissued at the time, a rockin' Everybody's Talkin' and an unusual but pleasing, doo-wop type ballad, Chains Of Love.

Capitol 3972 was a great piece of wax to own as side one's Try Me is a sax driven rocker in the Gene Vincent, Say Mama mould. The addition of backing vocals made it all the more commercial as it did for the b-side I Know My Baby Cares, another rocker with a top notch sax solo. The chart compilers still didn't need to learn the correct spelling of Luman and when he next returned to the Tower, the results were a far cry from his last trip. Lover's Prayer is a nice pure pop ballad, Precious is the same but suffers from another girlie group backing and Svengali is a weak song with a pop version of the Bo Diddley beat. Capitol went with Precious and Svengali for Capitol 4059 and Billboard said "Good reading by Luman of a country rockabilly effort, helped by a large group and some fine guitar work. Good wax."

Again, the singles died and it was time to move on. The split was remembered by Bob in a different way when he reminised "They wanted to change my name from Luman ,said it sounded too alike to Louvin or Lovan or Loupin or something! Why don't ya change it to Bobby Glynn? Well I went home and told my daddy and he said "What's wrong with Luman?" Are you proud of that name? so I said "Yes Sir!" but they just wanna change it and daddy said "NO you keep it Luman, we got to keep it in the family so they would know who I am. I said OK and told them we would not change it and they dropped me from Capitol!"

The newly established Warner Brothers label was the next port of call and on 6th June '59, with guitarist Roy Buchanan, he cut Class Of '59 and Loretta. Penned by Merle Kilgore and originally recorded by Al Jones on Imperial 5589, Loretta was a stop-start fast-picking rocker with a sparkling Buchanan solo, which unfortunately remained in the can for twenty years. Class Of '59 was way different, a pop number which even featured a tambourine, it was chosen as the first single. A second session took place just over a week later and the other side of Warner WB 5081 was taken from it, the brilliant My Baby Walks All Over Me. It's got everything, great singing, picking and if it had been released under Ricky Nelson's name, it would have gone to number one. The two other tracks from the session rightfully remained in the can; You're Like A Stranger In My Arms sounded more like Bobby than Bob and even a nice Buchanan solo can't lift Boom Boom Boom Yippy Yi Ya.

On September 8th, he cut his last Californian session, and from this released Buttercup and Dreamy Doll as Warner WB 5105. On Ron Hargrave's, Buttercup, Luman used all his vocal tricks and with more help from Buchanan turned in a great moody, swamp rocker. The flip was a teen idol big ballad but again the coupling failed to click.

During the early months of the new year, Bob Luman relocated to Nashville, teaming up with Wesley Rose and the Acuff-Rose organisation. The move paid immediate dividends as he next entered the studio, in Nashville, armed with a new song from Boudleaux Bryant, who was providing the Everly Brothers with a lot of their hits. The Everly's are actually thought to be playing rhythm on this Luman session. Luman, as was customary in his interviews, simplyfied the story thus "I was working the Town Hall Party and just about to quit the business because I'd been to Vegas for about 18 months and I knew I was to be drafted. I was staying at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood and the Everlys called me and said they wanted to see me the next morning. I went over and met them and Lester Rose, he said they had a song that Wesley has by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. I think Mark Dinning had cut it as a demo thing. I told them I was quitting and they said give this a try before you go. So I went to Nashville and Wesley Rose picked me up. I stayed in Nashville for a couple of weeks, learned the song and we went and cut it on time and Wesley said that's it, let's do the b side and he puffed his lil pipe and smoke signals went up and that's how it all happened!" For his part, Boudleaux Bryant, reckoned that Luman hated the song and didn't want to cut it. Be that as it may, I'm sure his attitude changed once the single was released.

You've Got Everything was a pleasing up-tempo number, but it was the a-side Let's Think About Livin' for which he was to be remembered. It was the perfect pop song with excellent backing, singing and lyrics. It shot to number 7 in the pop charts and number 9 in the country charts. It was released in the UK in the fall and rose to number 6. Instead of pushing the single with a tour of one-nighters, he began a tour of duty having been enlisted by Uncle Sam. It was a nightmare scenario, but being based in Tennessee and Missouri, he was able to use leave periods to record. Three sessions between 31st August and 3rd September produced enough material for an album called, surprise, surprise, Let's Think About Livin' (Warner WS1396). Along with okay covers of Hank and Don Gibson there was some real crackers. Although not released as a single, Jealous Heart is a brilliant ballad, sounding like Chris Isaacs on a real good day.

For a follow up single Warner chose Why Why Bye Bye and Oh Lonesome Me. Neither caught in the States, but the meaty beat of Why Why Bye Bye went to 46 in the UK. The following year, at the end of Feb, Luman hit Nashville again with a classic performance of John D.Loudermilk's, The Great Snowman. Released with a nonsense rocker The Pig Latin Song on the flip, it again went to 49 in the UK but inexplicably failed in America - and he was serving them! Following his discharge from the army, he met his future wife Barbara at a gig in Vancouver, Canada.

Six more singles were released by Warner Brothers over the next year or so, but none registered on the charts despite the usual high standards. Warner Bros 5233 was perhaps his weakest release to date, with Private Eye being catchy but sounding a bit to contrived and You've Turned Down The Lights being an average song saved only by a lovely deep vocal performance. Warner Bros 5506 was a fine return to form with the up-tempo stroller Boston Rocker sounding like one of Elvis' better movie songs and the flip Old Friends being a pleasant mid-tempo item. From a December 1961 Nashville session came Warner Bros 5255, mixing a lively take of Louisiana Man and Loudermilk's, Rocks Of Reno, a Dean Martin type western movie song. Also recorded that day were Big River Rose and Belonging To You which formed Warner Bros 5272. Big River Rose from the pen of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant was a western ballad in the style of Marty Robbins El Paso which suited Bob to a tee and it's a shame that he never pursued this format. Belonging To You had the usual Nashville Sound and with it's catchy lyrics and splendid vocals could have cracked the country charts. Quite why this single didn't click in the country field really is a mystery.

Four more sides were recorded at his last session for the label on 12 July 1962. Warner Bros 5299 consisted of a lively up-tempo version of The Fool which wasn't even spoilt by the strings and a heavy, slightly faster version of Hey Joe. The final single, Warner Bros 5321 coupled You're Everything with the poppy Envy. You're Everything was a Roy Orbison style big ballad and was the equal of most things charting at this time, but perhaps out of desperation, too many styles were now being tried.

It was time for another change and this time he found his home at Hickory Records. Life at the new label started with an 18th January 1963 session at Nashville's RCA Studio B backed by the likes of Grady Martin, Floyd Cramer, Bob Moore and a young Jimmy Isbell who later pounded the skins for Jerry Lee Lewis. The first single taken was the folky Interstate Forty and the Jack Scott type ballad, You're Welcome. It didn't chart but over the next four years with the label, he cracked the country top forty with the great story song The File (24), Five Miles From Home (Soon I'll See Mary) (39) and Carl Perkins' Poor Boy Blues (39). The material cut and issued over this period was a mixture of standard country fare with some old rockers thrown in.

His personal life was boosted by the marriage to Barbara in Yuma, Colorado on 12 August 1964 and then the birth of a daughter Melissa Claire on June 17th 1966. He also became a member of the coveted Grand Ole Opry in August 1965. The family who had been living in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, moved to Hendersonville, TN in 1968 and became neighbours with Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison on the banks of Old Hickory Lake.

In 1968 he moved to Epic records where over the course of the next ten years he had fifteen chart hits including four top tenners, the pick of which are probably Lonely Women Make Good Lovers and Still Loving You. At the end of '76, he needed surgery for a ruptured blood vessel in the oesophagus. Following months of recuperation, he entered the Sound Spectrum Recording Studio in Nashville for an album to be called Alive And Well, to be produced by friend/neighbour Johnny Cash. Four covers of JC songs were cut and a single, He's Got A Way With Women (Epic 50323) made the lower reaches of the charts. It was to prove his last single for Epic and he moved to Polydor to work with Jim Vienneau, whom Bob admired for his work at MGM with Conway Twitty. The first single I'm A Honky Tonk Woman's Man (Polydor 14408) made 33 on the charts and the follow up, the story song The Pay Phone (Polydor 14431) spent Christmas in the top twenty peaking at no.13. The last single Proud Lady/Let Me Love Him Out Of You (Polydor 14454) hovered just outside the top forty.

Following a Grand Ole Opry performance on 15th December where he performed with his usual pinnace, mixing equal portions of country with rockabilly and his famed impressions, he returned home feeling unwell. On the 19th he was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia and he passed away on the 27th at the age of 41. Johnny Cash sang at the funeral and Nashville presenter Ralph Emery delivered the eulogy.

Twenty years on and his name is still being kept alive by the likes of Bear Family, Rockstar, fans like Howard Cockburn but most importantly by his records. Either them shiny new ones or better still, the old 7" ones with the hole in the middle.

Shaun Mather
February 1999.

Bob Luman US Discography

Imperial 5705 - All Night Long / Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache
Imperial 8311 - A Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache / All Night Long
Imperial 8313 - Red Hot / Whenever You're Ready
Imperial 8315 - Make Up Your Mind Baby / Your Love
Capitol 3972 - Try Me / I Know My Baby Cares
Capitol 4059 - Svengali / Precious
Warner Bros 5081 - Class Of '59 / My Baby Walks All Over Me
Warner Bros 5105 - Buttercup / Dreamy Doll
Warner Bros 5172 - Let's Think About Living / You've Got Everything
Warner Bros EP5006 - Let's Think About Living /Boston Rocker / Old Friends / Bad, Bad Day
Warner Bros 5184 - Why Why Bye Bye / Oh Lonesome Me
Warner Bros 5204 - The - Great Snowman / The Pig Latin Song Warner Bros 5233 - Private Eye / You've Turned Down The Lights
Warner Bros 5506 - Boston Rocker / Old Friends
Warner Bros 5255 - Louisianna Man / Rocks Of Reno
Warner Bros 5272 - Big River Rose / Belonging To You
Warner Bros 5299 - The Fool / Hey Joe
Warner Bros 5321 - You're Everything / Envy
Hickory 1201 - Interstate Forty / You're Welcome
Hickory 1219 - I'm Gonna Write A Song For You / Can't Take The Country From The Boy
Hickory 1221 - Too Hot To Dance (by Sue Thompson & Bob Luman) / I Like Your Kind Of Love (Sue Thompson & Bob Luman)
Hickory 1238 - The File / Bigger Men Than I
Hickory 1266 - (Empty Walls) A Lonely Room / Run Home Baby Brother
Hickory 1277 - Fire Engine Red / Old George Dickle
Hickory 1289 - Bad, Bad Day / Tears From Out Of Nowhere
Hickory 1307 - Jealous Heart / Go On Home Boy
Hickory 1333 - I Love You Because / Love Worked A Miracle
Hickory 1355 - Five Miles From Home (Soon I'll See Mary) / I Get So Sentimental
Hickory 1382 - Poor Boy Blues / Can't Get You Off My Mind
Hickory 1410 - Come On And Sing / It's A Sin
Hickory 1430 - Freedom Of Living / Hardly Anymore
Hickory 1460 - If You Don't Love Me (Then Why Don't You Leave Me Alone) / Throwin' Kisses
Hickory 1481 - The Best Years Of My Wife / Running Scared
Hickory 1536 - It's All Over But The Shoutin' / Bad, Bad Day
Hickory 1564 - Meet Mr. Mud / Still Loving You
Epic 10312 - Ain't Got Time To Be Unhappy / I Can't Remember To Forget
Epic 10381 - World Of Unhappiness / I Like Trains
Epic 10416 - Woman Without Love / I'm In This Town For Good
Epic 10439 - Come On Home And Sing The Blues To Daddy / Big, Big World
Epic 10480 - Everyday I Have To Cry Some / Livin' In A House Full Of Love
Epic 10535 - Cleanin' Up The Streets Of Memphis / The Gun
Epic 10581 - Gettin' Back To Norma / Maybelline
Epic 10631 - Honky Tonk Man / I Ain't Built That Way
Epic 10667 - What About The Hurt / A Time To Remember
Epic 10699 - Is It Any Wonder That I Love You / Give Us One More Chance
Epic 10755 - I Got A Woman / One Hundred Songs On The Jukebox
Epic 10786 - A Chain Don't Take To Me / Don't Let Me Pass You By
Epic 10823 - Have A Little Faith / When You Say Love
Epic 10869 - It Takes You / Let's Think About Livin'
Epic 10905 - Lonely Women Make Good Lovers / Love Ought To Be A Happy Thing
Epic 10943 - Neither One Of Us / Anything But Lonesome
Epic 10994 - A Good Love Is Like A Good Song / Have You Ever Said "I Love You" To A Lady
Epic 11039 - Still Loving You / I'm Gonna Write A Song
Epic 11087 - Just Enough To Make Me Stay / Baby Make It Good
Epic 11138 - Let Me Make The Bright Lights Shine For You / The Closest Thing To Heaven That I've Found
Epic 50065 - Proud Of You Baby / Tonight My Baby's Coming Home
Epic 50136 - Shame On Me / How Do You Start Over
Epic 50183 - Satisfied Mind / Cleanin' Up The Streets Of Memphis
Epic 50216 - It's Only Make Believe / The Man From Bowling Green
Epic 50247 - How Do You Start Over / Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache
Epic 50297 - Labor Of Love / Blonde Haired Woman
Epic 50323 - Here We Are Making Love Again / He's Got A Way With Women
Polydor 14408 - I'm A Honky Tonk Woman's Man / Lonely Women (Don't Need To Be Lonely)
Polydor 14431 - The Pay Phone / He'll Be The One
Polydor 14444 - A Christmas Tribute / Give Someone You Love (A Little Bit Of Love This Year)
Polydor 14454 - Proud Lady / Let Me Love Him Out Of You

The following are Rollin' Rock 45's. Rollin' Rock 45-028 - Stranger Than Fiction / You're The Cause Of It All
Rollin' Rock 45-034 - That's Allright / Hello Baby / In The Deep Dark Jungle /Let Her Go

Hickory EP 1504 - Country & Western Showcase: I'm Gonna Write A Song About You / Your Welcome + 2 songs by Bobby Lord


1960 - Let's Think About Living - Warner Brothers WS1396
1964? - Can't Take The Country From The Boys - Hickory LPM 121
1965 - Livin' Lovin' Sounds - Hickory LPM 124
1968 - Ain't Got Time To Be Unhappy - Epic BN-26393
1969 - Come On Home And Sing The Blues To Daddy - Epic BN-26463
1970 - Getting Back To Norma - Epic BN-26541
1971 - Is It Any Wonder That I Love You - Epic E-30617
1971 - A Chain Don't Take To Me - Epic E-30923
1972 - When You Say Love - Epic KE-31375
1972 - Lonely Women Make Good Lovers - Epic KE-31746
1973 - Neither One Of Us - Epic KE-32192
1973 - Bob Luman - Harmony KH-32006
1974 - Red Cadillac And A Black Mousatche -Epic KE-33177
1974 -Greatest Hits - Epic KE-32759
1974 - Still Loving You - Hickory
1975 - When You Say Love/Lonely Women - Epic BG-33755
1976 - A Satisfied Mind - Epic KE-33942
1977 - Alive And Well - Epic KE-34445
1977 - Bob Luman Rocks - DJM
1978 - The Pay Phone - Polydor PD-1-6135
1978 - The Rocker - Bear Family BFX 15039
1979 - More Of The Rocker - Bear Family BFX 15037
1984 - Still Rockin' - Bear Family BFX 15140
Wild Eyed Woman - Bear Family BFX 15268
Carnival Rock - Bear Family BFX 15345
1984 American Originals Columbia

Bob Luman UK Discography 1960-69

'60 - Dreamy Doll / Buttercup Warner Bros - WB 12
'60 - Let's Think About Livin' / You've Got Everything - WB 18
'60 - Why, Why, Bye, Bye/ Oh Lonesome Me - WB 28
'61 - Great Snow Man/ Pig Latin Song - WB 37
'61 - Private Eye / You Turned Down The Lights - WB 49
'62 - Louisiana Man / Rocks Of Reno (Unissued) - WB 60
'62 - Hey Joe / The Fool - WB 75
'64 - Bigger Man Than I / File - Hickory 45 1238
'64 - Run On Home Baby Brother / Lonely Room - Hickory 45 1266
'64 - Fire Engine Red / Old George Dickel - Hickory 45 1277
'65 - Bad Bad Day / Tears From Out Of Nowhere - Hickory 451289
'65 - Come On & Sing / It's A Sin - Hickory 45 1410
'68 - Ain't Got Time To Be Unhappy / I Can't Remember To Forget - CBS 3602
'63 - With Sue Thompson: I Like Your Kind Of Love / Too Hot To Dance - Hickory 45 1221 also Polydor NH 66989)

Warner Bros EPS

'61 - Let's Think About Living WEP 6046 (Stereo WSEP 2046) - Let's Think About Living / Bad Bad Day/ Why Why Bye Bye/ Throwing Kisses

'62 Let's Think About Living Vol 2 WEP 6046 (Stereo WSEP 2055) - Oh - Lonesome Me/ Jealous Heart/ Everytime The World / Goes Round/ Meet Mr Mud

'62 -Let's Think About Living Vol 3 WEP 6102 (Stereo WSEP 2102) - You Win Again/ Dreamy Doll/ I Love You So Much It Hurts/ I Love You Because

'64 - (With Bobby Lord) Hickory Showcase Vol 2 Hickory LPE1501 - Interstate 40/ You Can't Take The Country From The Boy

'64 (With Bobby Lord) Hickory Showcase Vol 3 Hickory LPE1504 - I'm Gonna Write A Song About You/ You're Welcome


'60 - Let's Think About Living WB WM4025 (Stereo WS8025) - Let's Think About Living/I Love You Because/You Win Again/ Meet Mr Mud/Why, Why, Bye Bye/Throwin' Kisses/Dreamy Doll/ Bad Bad Day/Oh Lonesome Me/I Love You So Much It Hurts/ Everytime The World Goes Around/Jealous Heart

'64 - Livin' Lovin Sounds Hickory LPM 124 (reissue London ZGE 115 1971) - Oh Lonesome Me/ Hey Joe/Louisiana Man/Go On Home Boy/ The File and tracks off previous lp

'64 - Can't Take The Country From The Boys Hickory LPM121 - (1 side Bobby Lord) A Lonely Room/I'm Gonna Write A Song About You/ The File/Old George Dickel/Interstate 40/Can't Take The Country From The Boy

1960 9 10 Let's Think About Living Warner 5172
1964 24 14 The File Hickory 1238
1966 39 2 Five Miles From Home
(Soon I'll See Mary)
Hickory 1355
1966 39 1 Poor Boy Blues Hickory 1382
1968 19 9 Ain't Got Time To Be Unhappy Epic 10312
1969 24 7 Come On Home And Sing
The Blues To Daddy
Epic 10439
1969 23 6 Every Day I Have To Cry Some Epic 10480
1970 22 8 Honky Tonk Man Epic 10631
1971 40 2 I Got A Woman Epic 10755
1971 30 6 A Chain Don't Take To Me Epic 10786
1972 6 13 When You Say Love Epic 10823
1972 21 6 It Takes You Epic 10869
1972 4 15 Lonely Women Make Good Lovers Epic 10905
1973 7 11 Neither One Of Us Epic 10943
1973 23 7 A Good Love Is Like A Good Song Epic 10994
1973 7 11 Still Loving You Epic 11039
1974 23 6 Just Enough To Make Me Stay Epic 11087
1974 25 6 Let Me Make the Bright
Lights Shine For You
Epic 11138
1975 22 7 Proud Of You Baby Epic 50065
1977 33 3 I'm A Honky Tonk Woman's Man Polydor 14408
1977 13 10 The Pay Phone Polydor 14431
1960 7 9 Let's Think About Living Warner 5172
1960 6 18 Let's Think About Living Warner WB 18
1960 46 1 Why Why Bye Bye Warner WB 20
1961 49 2 The Great Snowman Warner WB 37

for UK releases

Prices in Pounds Sterling ()

Warner Bros WB 12 Dreamy Doll/Buttercup, 6
Warner Bros WB 18 Let's Think About Livin'/You've Got Everything, 5
Warner Bros WB 28 Why Why Bye Bye/Oh, Lonesome Me, 6
Warner Bros WB 37 The Great Snowman/The Pig Latin Song, 6
Warner Bros WB 49 Private Eye/You Turned Down The Lights, 6
Warner Bros WB 60 Louisianna Man/Rocks Of Reno (unissued), 6
Warner Bros WB 75 Hey Joe/The Fool, 6
Hickory 45-1238 The File/Bigger Men Than I, 6
Hickory 45-1266 (Empty Walls) A Lonely Room/Run On Home Baby Brother, 5
Hickory 45-1277 Old George Dickel/Fire Engine Red, 6
Hickory 45-1289 Bad Bad Day/Tears From Out Of Nowhere, 8
Hickory 45-1410 Come On And Sing/It's A Sin, 6
CBS 3602 Ain't Got Time To Be Unhappy/I Can't Remember To Forget, 12
Warner Bros WEP6046 Let's Think About Livin'(EP,also stereo WSEP2046), 35/45
Warner Bros WEP6055 Let's Think About Livin'No.2 (EP,also stereo WSEP2055), 35/45
Warner Bros WEP6102 Let's Think About Livin'No.3 (EP,also stereo WSEP2102), 35/45
Warner Bros WM 4025 Let's Think About Livin' (LP, also stereo WS 8-25), 50/60
Hickory LPM 124 Livin' Lovin' Sounds (LP), 20
London ZGE 115 Livin' Lovin' Sounds (LP, reissue), 10
DJM DJM 22057 Bob Luman Rocks (LP) 10

Hickory LPE 1501 Hickory Showcase Vol.2 (EP, 1 side each) 15
Hickory LPE 1504 Hickory Showcase Vol.3 (EP, 1 side each) 15
Hickory LPM 121 Can't Take The Country From The Boys (LP, 1 side each) 15

Polydor NH 66989 I Like Your Kind Of Love/Too Hot To Dance, 8
Hickory 45-1221 I Like Your Kind Of Love/Too Hot To Dance (reissue), 6

recommended listening

Until Bear Family release a rumoured box set things are scarce on cd front so vinyl freaks rule in the meantime.


1. Try Me - Rockstar RSR LP 1015 -
Red hot/ Wild eyed woman/Red cadillac & black moustache/Blue days, black nights/ Whenever you're ready/Your love/All night long/Amarillo blues/ Bring along your lovin **/make up your mind baby/Try me/Lovers prayer/Everybody's talkin'/Precious/I know my baby cares/chain of love/Svengali/Your love alt/Make up your mind baby alt/Red cadillac alt

Sublime 20 tracker of Imperial / Capitol 50s sides with 7 unissued/ alt takes for good measure. Great cover and notes. Buy it. (** this track is Marshall Lyttle,see NDT 150)

This would make a fab cd (broad hint there to Tony Barrett rockstar label supremo). Rockstar have brilliant cds by Eddie Cochran, Burnettes ,Buddy Knox and Darrel Higham.

2. Bear Family in late 70s and 80s issued five excellent Bob Luman lps.
a) The Rocker BFX 15037
b) More of That Rocker BFX 15039
---Both these feature the WB/Hickory sides, great pop rock 59 - 64
c) Still Rockin BFX 15140 - Mainly later 60s country sides from Hickory
d) Wild Eyed Woman BFX 15268
Toss up between this and Rockstar lp. Selection of sides from Capitol /Imperial and the pre 56 cuts. Again this would make a great cd with additional tracks.
e) Carnival Rock BFX 15345 - The latter has some 50s material, soundtrack from the movie Carnival Rock, a few of the Rockstar sides and later 60s country. This movie was doing the rounds on video a few years ago. A good write up on the movie appeared in Blue Suede Shoes mag a year or two ago.

All have excellent sound, notes and pics, as you would expect from the world's best reissue label.
check out availability as some are deleted

  • Bob Luman's recordings from 55 - 68 would make a fine box set, especially if compiled and annotated by Howard Cockburn who wrote a superb 2 part feature on ole Glynn in Now Dig This issues 58 & 59 (the worlds best rockin' read).

    Earlier lps include Bob Luman Rocks DJM (WB sides) and original 61 WB lp Let's Think About Living and three tasty stereo eps from the album. Various artist lp on White label More Rockabilly Rock (Bob Luman & friends) WLP8828 has some of pre 56 sides. Hickory released a shared lp with Bobby Lord, 60s country. 70s Imperial Rockabillies vol 3 lp featured Bob's demo of Make up your mind baby. French 2lp RnR at Capitol tower vol 3 has Everybody's talkin.

    The later Epic country lps are less essential for rockabilly though there's some great tracks there, look out for A Chain Don't Take To Me, Getting back To Norma and Alive and Well lps. Someone could make a fine compilation up of the best uptempo cuts. Epic 2lp Rockabilly Stars Vol 1 has unissued Mystery train from 74.

    DJM and Magnum/Sundown issued lps of 60s material.
    There's an interesting 1991 bootleg with gatefold sleeve, notes and pics called Dang Me on Flash records which consists of tracks from some of Bob's live radio transcription recordings. concentrating on country songs by Foster & Rice, Waylon and Troy Shondell. Well worth the price of admission are 2 versions of Mystery Train and Red Cadillac, dedicated to his fan club in the audience. He was a rocker through and through.


    Fairly sparse, there's two 15(?) track cds on Castle in Germany, WB sides apparently (possibly same as lps lets Think About Livin and Livin Lovin Sounds). US cd Classic Country on Simitar, mainly later sides. there's a similar one called American Legend but not good value, few tracks for your money.

    There's a European bootleg cd (surprise!) called Can't Take The Country - From The Boy claims to be Columbia CK 45096, gathers together 30 tracks from 62-69 Hickory. Well performed, stand outs being The Fool and Poor Boy Blues.

    There's a bootleg lP on Seeburg, called Red Hot which has some 50s cuts. It came out just before the legal Rockstar LP and contains early recordings with Mac Curtis band. It has the same cover as the new Swedish "Red Hot" CD, sound quality is not as superb as on legal releases, tracks were dubbed from discs.

    Bear Family feature Bob on various artist rockabilly series That'll Flat Git It vol 3 (Capitol) and Vol 8 (Abbot Fabor). and vol12 (Imperial).

    Stompertime feature live cuts on their Honky Tonk Rockabillies series. (check out their RHOF page) Vol 1 has Maybellene/ Let's think etc and The Great Snowman. Whilst vol 2 has Oh Lonesome Me/ The File.

    Country Routes features Bob live on 2 cds,firstly Rockin at the Town Hall cd RFD CD06. Cuts are My Baby Walks All Over me/Milk Cow Blues/I Got a Woman/I'm Walkin' and secondly CR RFD CD15 has Crazy Arms/Ready Teddy and Shake rattle and Roll.

    The winner though by a country mile is Star Club Records Bob Luman Is Red Hot CD 506000. garish yellow card sleeve, gatefold with no detailed notes (pics and snippets from mags). Says Ltd. edition on cover.

    However it is beautifully compiled and has good sound quality. Highly recommended, 25 56-61 sides.

    Red Hot/ Try Me/ Let's Think About The Living/ I Love You Because/ Red Cadillac & Black Moustache/ The Great Snowman/ I Know My Baby Cares/ You've Got Everything/ My Baby Walks All Over Me/ Oh Lonesome Me/ Everytime The World Goes Round/ Why Why, Bye Bye/ Class of 59/ Whenever You're Ready/ Pig Latin Song/ Bad Bad Day/ Meet Mr Mud/ Throwin Kisses/ Buttercup/ Dreamy Doll/ You Win Again/ Your Love/ All Night Long/ Make Up Your Mind/ Jealous Heart.

    Bearing in mind Bob's long and successful recording career you'd think his former record companies would reissue his best material properly or licence it to someone who would. Many artists with much less commercial success have fine anthologies out, so to paraphrase his million seller.


    Phil Davies
    Feb 1999

    Phil and Shaun would like to acknowledge Now Dig This, Howard Cockburn,Bob Thomas, Shane Hughes, Henk Gorter and Tapio Vaisanen.
    (any additional info welcome,

    Also visit the: Phil & Shaun Show Rockabilly HOF Page

    Rockabilly Hall of Fame