Bobby was born Wayne Boykin, though
for just about his whole music career he went by the name Bobby
Wayne. After first establishing himself on the Pittsburgh club scene
around the early 60's, he and his band (Bobby & the Vanguards)
toured all over. They did gigs up in Ohio and across in Canada.
While up in those parts he played shows backing Darrell Banks and
the two guys got to know each other. Not long after this, Darrell
had some shows in Pittsburgh (a week long engagement I believe) and
Wayne went along to renew their friendship. Darrell hired him to
open the show and the two became firm friends, Darrell made an
effort & spent time schooling Wayne in stage technique.
"Long Hard Look" (Bonedog 1999)
1 Keeping Her Candy
"Hit That Thing!" (Bonedog 2004)
1. Dig Yourself
***** Sublime. Magnificent. Dazzling. (add superlative here). A few words to describe Bobby Wayne's supremely soulful "Hit That Thing!". A friend of mine and fellow critic told me to get a copy of this disc all the while praising it with nearly blithe drool and I'm now quite grateful (we Deep Soul/Blues geeks are a verbose bunch when we find a diamond). 100% organic backing. Tasteful female backups, organ, majestic horns, flawless rhythm and gritty vocals on 13 great tunes equals buy-it-now-or-forfeit-your-soul. Nearly every track is a standout but a few shall get special mention. Mike Sweeney's moving "Homestead Greys" is a tribute to the perseverance of a "Negro League" baseball team before Jackie broke the color line. Atop a lilting piano n' bass platform Wayne earnestly intones: "They hit a ball 500 feet past a place they couldn't eat and hotels they couldn't stay. Through it all they played with pride. Kept the bitterness inside in the days of the Homestead Greys." Sweeney provides another brilliant stroke with "On The Drift", a retro-60s Soul coaster replete with harmonica, chiming guitar, Hammond B-3 and a restrained vocal from Wayne. Both these cuts are the sit back and pay attention sort. More top shelf originals come from other members of the "Mojo Boneyard" (Jeff Ingersoll, Jim Britton & Wayne, given name Wayne Boykin) such as the sprite "Life Of The Party, funky "Hit That Thing" and Jazzy "Time". On the latter tracks saxwork by Bobby Jones Jr., Chris Hemmingway and Robbie Klein must be praised. While mostly originals there's also superb covers of the Fantastic Four's "Can't Stop Looking For My Baby", Rance Allen Group's "Ain't No Use In Crying" and The Masqueraders' "This House Is Haunted".
"Soul Station" (Bonedog 2008)
1 Soul Station 5:05
I’ve been looking forward to the new Bobby Wayne ever since I first
listened to his ridiculously good last disc “Hit That Thing!”.
That masterpiece would be hard to duplicate in terms of song, sound
and soul and while “Soul Station” isn’t a duplicate, it’s simply
splendid and an essential purchase for fans of real Soul Blues by a
great excess. Even with a street date of January 1 2008 it will
endure as one of the best of the year. That locomotive bass,
smacking drums, blaring horns and Bobby’s unassuming voice on the
title track (and opener) instantly brought a smile to my face. Stax
Records lives. Lyrically fitting, the song is an ode to his oldtime
soul radio (9-Volt) airing DJ “John R’s” picks on WLAC. The hook:
“soul station/southern R & B/soul station/that was for me!”. There
you have it. Can I get an Amen? It’s one of eight cuts penned by
guitarist Mike Sweeney, who offers up another heavy bottomed Soul
Blues thumper with “Leaving Signs”, my pick for radio for sure. Of
course on my Internet radio stations I’ve also been playing the
hook-filled floater “This Amazing Thing”, the Northern Soul roller
“Knowing You’ve Been Loved” and knockout slowie “Right About The
Rain”. I should also mention this would serve as one hella good
party disc with funky ass Rhythm & Blues jams like “Diggin’ What You
Do To Me” and jumpers like “Soul’s Got A Sound”. To sum up “Soul
Station” for you in two words: TUNE IN.