Bobby Lawson (Robert Wayne) was born in 1938 in a small mining town named Glamorgan, Wise County,
Virginia. A family of seven, we all relied on music to get us thru the day. We often sat on the
front porch and sang gospel songs. In 1950, we moved to Stirrat, WV., because of my dad's work as a
In 1954, my dad bought an old guitar and, much to my amazement, my mother could play three chords. I
saw all the attention she got from those who were listening, and I knew I wanted to learn to play.
And, so I did, with the help of mail order courses. My older brother Junior (Roosevelt James) and I
began playing with a small band at schools and local events.
Later I joined the Army. After serving my tour I returned home, and Junior and I began playing with
Al and Cuz Blevins. We would all load up in a car and drive around looking for nite clubs and
roadside bars where we could play. We would just go in, get permission to set up and start playing.
We used a tip box (usually a cigar box taped shut with a slit in it) for folks to drop in their
At this time I began singing Rockabilly (Jerry Lee, Elvis, and Perkins) and people liked it.
So we decided to look for other places to play. Ohio here we come! We got work as soon as we got to
Portsmouth. We were now getting a salary plus tips. WOW! This was great. The people really liked
In 1957. I was introduced to Dave and John Thornhill (brothers). They came on stage and we played a
few songs. I knew that I had to get them in my band because they could play anything that I wanted
And, needless to say, we packed them in every night. They had to lock the doors at 8 P.M.
In 1958, my band and I cut a record of my songs (If You Want My Love & Baby Don't Be That Way) with
MRC Records owned by Mac McKinney.
We went on the road promoting the record playing radio, TV, clubs and dances. We added a saxophone
player (Randy McKinney) and a new drummer (Ken Riley). By this time, Junior was in a new line of
work. We were being booked as BOBBY LAWSON and the DE AN TONES at larger events by Hetzer's
Theatrical Agency, Huntington, WV. After some time we all decided to go in different directions.
In 1958, I married a beautiful lady (still married after 48 years), and continued to play with many
bands in and around Ohio until 1966. Then I moved my family to Marion, Ohio, and worked for the
Quaker Oats Company. I was president of the United Auto Workers, Local Union 745, for two years and
received several leadership awards from the U.A.W.
After 25 years with Quaker, I retired at the age
of fifty and we moved back to Portsmouth. Took up painting (oils & acrylics) and painted many
pictures of landscapes. I own and paly a vintage Fender Stratacaster and recently purchased a
brand-new Martin D-28.
Junior, my brother, has made a carrer in club management. Dave, John and Ken went on to play with
Lorreta Lynn for many years.
Thanks to Cees Klop, T. Gordon and Bob Timmers. A special thanks to Al Blevins wherever
Bobby's songs can be found
on the following compiations:
Nasty Rockabilly, Vol. 6 - B - Sharp 666
Nau Voo Rock & Roll - Collector CDLC #4411
The Chickens Are Rocking, Vol. 2 Eagle 90201
Greasy Rock 'N' Roll - Greasy GR 001
Original Historic Rockabilly Classics - Lost Gold LGR
True Blue Rockabilly, Vol. 2 - True Blue Rockabilly
More Wild Rockin' - White Label 8858 (lp)
Rockabilly Rarities, Vol. 4 - Yeaah! 22 (cd)
... can also be found on some down-load sites.
One of Bobby's songs was recorded by Hi-Strung Ramblers
on Wild Records titled "HOBO HOP".
Updated April, 2008
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