ARROW 727Bobby Long

Considering Bobby Long lengthy and fairly prolific output his level of obscurity is rather surprising. No photos, no interviews, no info – nothing. But his talents deserved much better than that – and this page will attempt to redress some of the balance by outlining his recording history.

Since a lot of his varied vinyl output for a raft of small local labels was recorded in New Jersey, I’ll take a punt and assume that was where he grew up. His first recordings were for the Arrow label, which like its sister Bow concern was actually a NY label owned by Herman Pollock and Fred Mendlesohn. Both the uptempo R &B cum doo wop of “Patty” and the downtempo “By My Side” showed a young sounding tenor voiced Long, but already demonstrating his good grasp of timing and some fine gospel flourishes, much in the style of Little Willie John.

GLOW-HILL 505Long’s trio of 45s for Charlie & Dave Steinberg’s Jersey Glow-Hill concern continued the mix of R & B cum doo wop of his initial recording. I like the tender “Hold Me” and the fine melodic slowie ListenCalling (For The One I Love) but the killer just has to be the brilliant easy rocking blues ListenDid You Ever Dream Lucky (written by Long and Kelly Owens) with its perfect Long vocal and highly individual and memorable lyric:-

(Come on baby listen to my dream that I dreamed last night – I was all excited)

I dreamed I hit my number 422
I had so much money I didn’t know what to do
I even played the races my horse won by a mile
I dreamed I was counting my money pile by pile

FOUNTAINHEAD 105But it was just a dream – a dream I had on my mind
Did you ever dream lucky wake up holding air and didn’t have a dime.

I met a little girl as sweet as she could be
She walked up and said she was in love with me
She had a pink Cadillac and she gave me the key
She said lets take a ride just you and me

But it was just a dream – just a dream I had on my mind
Did you ever dream lucky wake up holding air and didn’t have a dime.

I bumped into the President while walking down the street
He said Mr Bobby Long you’re who I want to meet
I have a job for you that pays $1000 a day
And if that’s not enough I’ll even raise your pay

But it was just a dream – just a dream I had on my mind
Did you ever dream lucky wake up holding air and didn’t have a dime.

EVERLAST 5020This great side made its way onto the nationally distributed Unart label but sadly (and shamefully) did nothing.

Owens produced Long’s tasty double sider on Fountainhead which coupled the excellent blues ballad ListenI Need You with the famous rousing black rocker “Jersey City” with an amazing Wild Jimmy Spruill guitar break, much in favour with the R & B dancers. The similarly paced “The Pleasure Is All Mine” is another slice of rocking R & B which need greater exposure. Sadly the Cub single doesn’t quite reach those heights.

But Long’s two 45s on Max Schaeffer’s Jersey based Skymac label are very strong. The initial 45 featured the melodic doo cum R & B ballad “Just For A Day” which I like very much. Note the mis-spelling of George Kerr’s name as arranger / producer on this one. Bobby’s second Skymac release included another emotive blues ballad in ListenI Had To Come Back – lovely.

SKYMAC 1007Like the Skymac releases the two Vegas ones also included a brace of top quality ballads. The first had the impassioned ListenRed Roses (Will Never Fade) on which Long delivered one of his very best performance full of righteous fire. On the flip of “Mojo Workout” the second single had another of those easy paced bluesy shuffles that Long controlled so well. Although “You’ve Got What It Takes” isn’t quite in the same league as “Did You Ever Dream Lucky” it’s still a mighty fine piece of music making.

His only Old Town single came after a 4 year break from the studio, and was his first real attempt at a soul style. “Heartbreak Avenue” is a powerful fast, funky little item, with Long showing some fine hoarse vocalising that the Northern crowd really rate. I prefer the more tuneful beat ballad “I Gotta Have Love Too” on the other side myself – but that’s pretty often with a Northern title. Bobby returned to recording as Eddie Long at the end of the 60s, cutting a funky remake of “Mojo Workout” from his Vegas days for Fun City and a funkifized “Did You Ever Dream Lucky” for Skye but nobody seemed to be listening. What a shame.

VEGAS 500 OLD TOWN 2003 FUN CITY 100

 



Discography

By my side / Patty ~ ARROW 727 (1957)
I slipped tripped / Don't you run ~ GLOW-HILL 503 (1958)
Ooh la la / Hold me ~ GLOW-HILL 504 (1959)
ListenCalling (for the one I love) / ListenDid you ever dream lucky ~ GLOW-HILL 505 (1959)
ListenI need you / Jersey City ~ FOUNTAINHEAD 105 (1960)
Ooh poo pah doo / The pleasure is all mine - EVERLAST 5020 (1962)
Flip flop / Station hurt ~ CUB 9120 (1963)
Don't leave me / Just for a day ~ SKYMAC 1007 (1964)
A good time / ListenI had to come back ~ SKYMAC 1011 (1964)
Mojo workout / ListenRed roses (will never fade) ~ VEGAS 500 (1964/5)
Stir it up / You got what it takes ~ VEGAS 700 (1965)
Heartbreak avenue / I gotta have love too ~ OLD TOWN 2003 (1969)
Mojo workout / There's no weapon like a woman's tears ~ FUN CITY 100 (1969/70) (as EDDIE LONG)
It don't make sense but it sure sounds good / Did you ever dream lucky ~ SKYE 4522 (1970) (as EDDIE LONG)


 

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