who tried to take correspondence courses in classical music until realizing
that folk was more to his liking.
He was born into a musical family, and they had their own, aptly
titled Wood Family Gospel Group.
A chance meeting with Elvis Presley in the mid-‘50s turned out
to be prophetic.
In 1960, he
moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and met Stan Kesler, an engineer at Sun Records. Stan encouraged him to record and
release “If I’m a Fool for Lovin’
You”, which became a hit on the Joy label. Bobby toured to support the record
but was in an automobile accident which sidelined him for more than six
months. Unable to tour, he
focused on session work, instead.
He and Gene Chrisman, Tommy Cogbill, Bobby
Emmons, Mike Leech and Reggie Young comprised the Memphis Boys.
Boys worked with an eclectic array of artists and groups, such as The Box
Tops, Neil Diamond, Herbie Mann, Wilson Pickett, James
& Bobby Purify, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Dusty Springfield, Billy
Swan, the Sweet Inspirations, B.J. Thomas, and Dionne Warwick.
Chips Moman, a producer, tapped him to assemble the American
Studios House Band. They were
instrumental—pun intended—in amassing 120 hit records for the
studio from 1967 to 1971. While
at American, he ran into Elvis again and laid down some tracks with him,
including “In the Ghetto”, “Kentucky Rain”, and “Suspicious
to Atlanta, Georgia,
and Bobby relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, where he quickly found himself on Music City’s A team, backing artists
such as Kris Kristofferson and Tammy Wynette.
In 1973, he reunited
with The King at Stax for sides such as “I
Got a Thing About You Baby” and “Promised Land” and the
albums, Good Times and Raised on Rock. Billy “Crash” Craddock
recorded one of Bobby’s songs, “Still Thinkin’
About You”, in 1974.
In the early ‘80s,
Bobby appeared on two of the biggest country hits of all time, “Always
on My Mind” by Willie Nelson and “He Stopped Loving Her Today”
by George Jones. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” topped the charts in
1980. “Always on My Mind”
won Grammy awards for Best Country Song and Song of the Year in 1982.
enjoyed chart success with his own compositions, such as “Half the
Way”, “Talkin’ in Your Sleep,
and “What’s Your Name, What’s Your Number”.
As if he hadn’t
been living a charmed life, in 1989, Allen Reynolds hooked him up with
Garth Brooks, and he went on to play keyboards on all of Garth’s
In 2007, he and
The Memphis Boys were enshrined in the Musicians Hall of Fame.
information about this prolific artist should be available soon. Bobby has been working on his
memoirs, tentatively titled “From Elvis to Garth”.
Randy Barlow recordings
Man (J.L. Wallace/Terry