Monday, 15 April 2013
Bob Luman born 15 April 1937
Bob Luman, (born as Robert Glynn Luman 15 April 1937 - December 27, 1978), was an American country and rockabilly singer.
Luman’s father, Joe, a school caretaker, bus driver and gifted musician, taught his son country music, but Luman’s first love was baseball, which he played on a semi-professional basis until 1959. He was influenced by seeing Elvis Presley in concert, later saying, ‘That was the last time I tried to sing like Webb Pierce or Lefty Frizzell’. His band then won a talent contest sponsored by the Texas Future Farmers of America and judged by Johnny Horton. In 1955, Luman recorded the original version of ‘Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache’ and also a scorching ‘Red Hot’ for Imperial Records. He joined The Louisiana Hayride as replacement for Johnny Cash and came into contact with guitarist James Burton and bass player James Kirkland, whom he recruited for his band. Unfortunately for Luman, Ricky Nelson was so impressed by Luman’s musicians that he made them a better offer.
Luman was handsome, young and talented to boot, so it was only natural that Bob begin appearing on television. In 1957, he had a small role in a Hollywood film, Carnival Rock. After a brief, unsuccessful period with Capitol Records, Luman moved to Warner Brothers Records, who released ‘Class Of ‘59’ and ‘Dreamy Doll’, both featuring Roy Buchanan.
In 1959, the Pittsburgh Pirates offered young Luman a lucrative contract. Fed up with his lack of success, he decided to go for it and announced this during a concert one night. The Everly Brothers happened to be in the audience and after the show, they talked him into giving country music one more try. They suggested he record the Boudleaux Bryant song "Let's Think About Living," and sure enough, it was a Top Ten hit on both the country and pop charts.
His follow-up, "The Great Snowman," was also a hit and Luman began organizing a promotional tour. Unfortunately he was drafted and spent the next two years in the military.He was discharged in 1964 and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
He made many country records for the Hickory label, including John D. Loudermilk’s witty ‘The File’. Luman
eventually signed with Epic Records and soon had a string of major hits on his hands beginning with the Top 20 "Ain't Got Time to Be Happy." Over the next ten years, Luman released many more singles that made it into the Top 25 or better, including the Top Five hit "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers" in 1972. During these years, Luman toured extensively and frequently. The first country performer to perform in Puerto Rico, he also appeared on national and international television shows and remained a regular on the Opry, where his lively performances raised the eyebrows of the old timers who thought his music veered dangerously close to rock & roll at times. Luman had a major heart attack in 1975, and it took him nearly five months to recover. (Afterwards, he joked about his enormous medical bills during his Opry performances.)
In 1976, he underwent major surgery and then, prompted and produced by Johnny Cash, he recorded Alive And Well. Despite the title, he contracted pneumonia. He collapsed and died shortly after an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 41. In recent years, Luman’s work has been reassessed with retrospectives and, like Johnny Burnette, it is his early, rockabilly work that most interests collectors. To quote one of his country hits, ‘Good Things Stem From Rock ‘n’ Roll.’