Bobby Robinson

The Original Bobby’s Happy House, 301 West 125th St.

Bobby’s In Th Early 90’s.

They’re going to bury Bobby Robinson (Morgan Clyde Robinson, born April 16, 1917, in Union, S.C.) tomorrow at the United House Of Prayer For All People on 8th Ave and 125th Street, the viewing is 3-6 PM with a service to follow.  Obit can be found here.
Bobby’s the last of the great New York record men, he died early this week at age 93, but he really died a few years ago when he could no longer afford the rent on his 125th St. record store Bobby’s Happy House (his old store is now a KFC, he was relocated around the corner for a few years,  that building was torn down and Bobby was out on his ass), Bobby’s Happy House which had been on the block since 1946.  Priced out nearly twenty years ago, the block is now home to Starbucks and Bill Clinton and the white gentrification of Harlem.
  Christ, how many great R&B and rock’n’roll records did Bobby make?  Kansas City by Wilbert Harrison, the #1 record the day I was born (May 23, ’59), always made me feel like we had a personal bond. Lee Dorsey, Wild Jimmy Spruill,  Lightnin’ Hopkins, Elmore James, a couple of hundred great doo wop records, early hip hop, Jerry Wexler couldn’t shine his belt buckle.  I met him many times when Jimmy Spruill would take me by the record store, he always had a funny story to share, a smile, a joke, and some honest advice.  Bye bye pal, the town won’t be the same without you.
Bobby & Buddy- What’s The Word, Thunderbird (Fury 1008)

15 thoughts on “Bobby Robinson”

  1. Sad news, especially the eviction from his record shop and subsequent KFC installation. No sympathy to historic musical icons in this world, hopefully the next. I've started a 'doo-wop' / 'anything else I like' blog of modest capacity. Please take a looksy. Thanks for all you work at the Houndblog.

  2. Has there ever been a better name for a record store? What a wonderful statement of intent. Damn, a world full of wonder is slipping away…RIP Bobby.In other sad news, word is, Steve Mancha / Clyde Wilson passed away on the weekend. RIP

  3. Nice write up on Bobby,the record shop and the making of “Kansas City” in John Brovens “Record Makers and Breakers”. I'm sorry I never got a chance to meet him.

  4. I know wikipedia is not the best source but his obit on that site listed dozens of records he was associated with. Check it out.(oops I don't have a link; it's easy to find) and second it, welcome back, hound!

  5. Not to mention overseeing perhaps the greatest vocal kickoff to a record in the history of rock and roll:Actually that was an edit. The longversion is just as cool

  6. Just to clarify the recent eviction from 8th ave, even worse is that the building WASN'T torn down, it's still standing, derelict. They threw out 6 or 8 businesses besides Happy House

  7. I attended his funeral service but am several weeks behind in blogging about it. A lot of people showed up but — so far as I could tell — not one of the artists he'd recorded. (Granted, many are long deceased.) Wilbert Harrison's brother Joel was there, however!


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