The “Golden Hits Of Th60s” 

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(BoudleaurL Bryant)

Warner Bros. 5172

No. 7    October 24, 1960




Bobby Glynn Luman’s dad–fiddle player, guitarist, and harmonica-honker extraordinare–taught his

boy (b. April 15, 1937, Nacogdoches, TelL.) to play country tunes.  Bob was  slightly interested, but liked

baseball more.  In high school, he also fronted a country  band, singing his heart out like Webb Pierce

and Lefty Frizzell.   In his junior year, he tried out for the  Pittsburgh Pirates.   Whether  he was picked

up or passed on depends on whom you listen to, but either way, Luman never showed up at minor

league camp.


Bob, you see, had seen Elvis and was quite impressed.  “Man, didn’t believe  it,”  Luman recalled to

Paul Hemphill in The Nashville Sound.  “This cat came out in red pants and a green coat … [and]

started moving  his hips real slow like he had a thing for his guitar.  He made chills run up my back.”


That was it for baseball and country music.  Bob and his band switched to playing rock’n’roll, and  in

senior year, they won a talent contest sponsored by the Texas Future Farmers of America.  In 1955,

Imperial  Records  issued three  classics–“Red Cadillac And A BlackMoustache,” “Red Hot,” and  “Make

Up Your Mind Baby.”  Luman and buddy DAVID HOUSTON won a spot in the early rock flick Carnival

Rock (1957). Capitol followed  up  with Bob’s “Svengali,” then Warner Bros. rush-released “Class Of

’59” b/w “My Baby Walks All Over Me” plus “Dreamy Doll.”  All  of these disks were teenage dynamite,

and represent Luman at the pinnacle of  his form as a rockabilly artist–but none of them charted.


For the  next record, Luman and the  label leaders opted for a change of pace, and toned down the

rock’n’roll energy.  “Let’s Think About Living” was a punchy protest piece:  “Let’s forget about the lyin’

and the cryin’/The shootin’ and the dyin’/And the fellow with  the switchblade knife.  “None   of Bob’s

immediate follow-ups, not even similar-sounding  songs, charted pop or country.


A two year stit in the military didn’t help keep his name on teen’s lips.  On his return to civilian life in

’63, Bob hung up his rock’n’roll shoes, signed with Hickory, a country label owned by Wesley Rose

and Roy Acuff.   In August  1964,  he became a regular member of  the  Grand Ole Opry.   He toured and

toured, eventually clicking with 39 singles on Billboard’s  C & W  listings, five of them in the top 10.


In 1976, Bob was hospitalized for nearly six months for an operation on a blocked artery.   After his

release, Johnny Cash brought him back into a recording studio and produced Bob’s penuitimate LP

for Epic, Alive and Well.


Bob Luman died of pneumonia on December 27, 1978,  in Nashville.  He was 41.