Friday, January 6, 2012

New Oldies - Rock And Roll Record Girl by Bobby Poe And The Poe Cats

After the legendary Sam Phillips of Sun Records heard Bobby Poe And The Poe Cats, he wanted to put this song out on a record. But the song was very similar to the #1 hit song Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy, written by Jack Stapp and Harry Stone, first released on Decca 46205 in 1950, and licensed by Acuff-Rose publishing company. Sam had to jump through a bunch of legal hoops to get permission from Wesley Rose. By the time the song was cleared for publication, Sam had given up on it. A disc jockey in Dallas named Jim Lowe snapped it up and issued it on his own White Rock Records label. It was immensely popular all over Texas, climbing to the number one spot on regional charts.

Here's Rock And Roll Record Girl by Bobby Poe And The Poe Cats on White Rock 1112 from 1958, a serious slice of Rockabilly that would probably set you back about $250 if you wanted to buy an original copy!

For those of you who want to compare the two songs, here's Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy by Red Foley on Decca 46205 from 1950:

Bobby Poe cut one more record for Jim Lowe under the name Bobby Brant And The Rhythm Rockers. After that, he quit recording his own songs and started managing other artists instead. His first client was Big Al Downing, who had been the only black member of Bobby's Poe Cats (and played piano on this track). He moved to Washington DC and picked up another former Poe Cat, lead guitarist Vernon Sandusky, now a member of The Chartbusters. That band had a hit in 1964 with She's The One which peaked at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100. In an interview for People Magazine, actor Tom Hanks revealed that The Chartbusters had a lot of influence on the making of his film, That Thing You Do.

Let's spin that one right now. Here's She's The One by The Chartbusters on Mutual 502 from 1964:

Bobby Poe also managed The British Walkers, which featured guitarist Roy Buchanan. Roy had been playing with Dale Hawkins, doing the solo on My Baby. After that he played with Dale's cousin Ronnie Hawkins, giving guitar instruction to Ronnie's guitar player, Robbie Robertson. Roy can be heard playing bass on Ronnie's version of Who Do You Love. According to an unconfirmed legend, Roy turned down an offer to join The Rolling Stones!

Check out Shake by The British Walkers on Cameo 466 from 1967, a cover of Sam Cooke's big hit. This version snuck into Billboard's Bubbling Under The Hot 100 touching the #106 slot:

Bobby Nelson Poe was born on 13 April 1933 in Vinita, Oklahoma. His Poe Cats worked as the first backing band for Wanda Jackson, the Rockabilly Queen. They toured together, and can be heard on Wanda's early Capitol releases, including Let's Have A Party.

Bobby Poe, Wanda Jackson, Big Al Downing, and Vernon Sandusky are all members of the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame.

Bobby Poe started suggesting and recommending songs to radio programmers in 1968. He published a tip sheet called Bobby Poe's Pop Music Survey and even began an annual music convention that became very popular with radio programmers. After twenty five years of running those conventions, Bobby retired in 1996. He founded the Grand Grove Opry in Grove, Oklahoma to showcase Country music talent. Those shows were broadcast on KITO radio in Vinita.

Bobby Poe died at his home in Grove, Oklahoma on 22 January 2011 after battling throat cancer for two years.


  1. What a wonderful blog posting about my dad Joe! You certainly did your research and I look forward to exploring your other postings!

    Bobby Poe, Jr.

  2. Thanks, Bobby. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I attended your dad's shows. Great guy!