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Friday, 17 November 2017

H-Bomb Ferguson - Good Lovin'

Side One:
01. Slowly Goin' Crazy
02. Preachin' The Blues
03. Sundown Blues
04. Good Lovin'

Side Two:
01. Give It Up
02. Big City Blues
03. Bookie's Blues
04. My Brown Frame Baby

H-Bomb Ferguson - Good Lovin'

or alternatively for fans of intrusive downloads and browser hijackers:

H-Bomb Ferguson - Good Lovin'

"Slowly Goin' Crazy," "Preachin' The Blues," "Sundown Blues" and "Good Lovin'" were recorded in New York City on December 12th, 1951 by the following personnel:

H-Bomb Ferguson (vocal) with: J. Hawkins (trumpet); Julius "Hawkshaw" Watkins (trombone); Ernest "Pinky" Williams (alto and baritone sax); Purvis Henson (tenor sax); Kelly Owens (piano); Leon Spann (bass); Jack "The Bear" Parker (drums)

"Give It Up," "Big City Blues," "Bookie Blues" and "My Brown Frame Baby" were recorded in New York City on January 10th, 1952 by the following personnel:

H-Bomb Ferguson (vocal) with: Leon Comegys (trombone); Ernest "Pinky" Williams (alto sax); Lowell "Count" Hastings (tenor sax); Jimmy Neely (piano); LaVerne Barker (bass); Jack "The Bear" Parker (drums)

"Good Lovin'" / "Slowly Goin' Crazy" was released on Savoy 830 in January 1952.

Above: Good taste is timeless: Billboard January 12th 1952

"Bookie's Blues" / "Big City Blues" was released on Savoy 836 in February 1952. The track "Bookie's Blues" on this collection is an alternate take.

Above: Billboard, 9th February 1952

"Preachin' The Blues" / "Hot Kisses" was released on Savoy 848 in June 1952.

"Tortured Love" / "Give It Up" was released on Savoy 865 in November 1952. "Tortured Love" credited to H-Bomb Ferguson with Varetta Dillard.

"Sundown Blues" and "My Brown Frame Baby" were not released as singles. They were issued in 1980 on the Savoy Jazz 2LP set "The Shouters: Roots Of Rock 'N' Roll Vol. 9" (SJL 2244) and on the 1986 Savoy Jazz LP "Life Is Hard" (SJL 1176).

This little collection in the ongoing Savoy series of mini LP's that never were is a good representation of blues shouter H-Bomb Ferguson's annus mirabilis, 1952. Born Robert Purcell Ferguson in Charleston, South Carolina, the future "H-Bomb" had arrived in New York as a vocalist with the touring Joe Liggins band around 1946/7. The tour having ended in NYC, he split from the band and won a regular gig at the Club Baby Grand in Harlem. At this stage he was billed as "The Cobra Kid" but when he took up with drummer and bandleader Jack "The Bear" Parker he reverted to his own name - Bob Ferguson.

His first recording opportunity and appearance on record was with Derby around 1950/51 as vocalist on a Jack "The Bear" Parker session. In 1951 he was again vocalist on a Parker session for Prestige. Around this time he recorded under his own name for Atlas (backed by the Charlie Singleton band). The Prestige and Atlas sides remained in the can but Bob (by now going under the "H-Bomb" name) got his big break when he started recording for Savoy in December 1951.

His first release on Savoy, "Good Lovin'" / "Slowly Goin' Crazy", in early January 1952, sold well locally but failed to chart nationally. Sales were strong enough to encourage both Atlas and Prestige to issue their own H-Bomb singles at the end of January - "Rock H-Bomb Rock" / "I Love My Baby" (Atlas 1003) was reviewed in Billboard on the 26th January 1952 while the same issue carried an advance notice of the release of Prestige 918, "Feel Like I Do" / "My Love" (credited to H-Bomb Ferguson with Jack "The Bear" Parker Orchestra.)

A second recording session for Savoy followed on 10th January 1952 with a second release "Bookie's Blues" / ""Big City Blues" coming out in February. This disc was another good seller, but not enough to break into the national charts. A further Savoy release, "Hot Kisses" /  "Preachin' The Blues" appeared in June 1952 but also failed to chart. In July H-Bomb recorded "Tortured Love" with Varetta Dillard in his final Savoy session. This side was issued (with "Give It Up" on the B-Side) in November 1952, a release which brought an end to his brief spell with Savoy.

The rest of H-Bomb's career can be briefly summed up - a few one-off record deals in 1953, a move to Cincinnati in the mid 1950's followed by another series of sporadic releases on small labels, culminating in a couple of platters on a big label - Federal - including the much compiled "Midnight Ramblin' Tonight" in 1961, and then nothing for decades.

In the 1980's H-Bomb entered his "wild wig" phase - beginning a series of live appearances wearing a series of increasingly bizarre wigs, while reviving his recording career with singles on Radiation, Finch and Papa Lou Records and a couple of albums on Papa Lou and Earwig, the latter in 1993. By now H-Bomb was something of an institution not only on the Cincinnati blues scene, but also on the festival circuit. There's plenty of footage on YouTube of this stage of his career including videos recorded just a few months before he passed away in 2007. At least he kept rockin' almost to the very end and without the wigs, thank the Lord.

Elsewhere on the blog:

I've revived an old post on H-Bomb's first Savoy single by restoring the streaming audio. Click here for "Good Lovin'" and ""Slowly Goin' Crazy." Not only sounds but also arcane knowledge for your rockin' edification.

Recommended purchase:

Revola CD CR BAND 4. From 2006 and long out of print, but you may be able to pick up a second hand copy at a reasonable price. One drawback about this release is that the track order is totally different from that listed on the cover. Should you locate a copy here is the correct track order (with thanks to whoever uploaded it to the online database):

01. I Love My Baby
02. Rock H-Bomb Rock
03. Slowly Goin' Crazy
04. Preachin' The Blues
05. Sundown Blues
06. Good Lovin'
07. Give It Up
08. Big City Blues
09. My Brown Frame Baby
10. New Way Blues
11. Bookie's Blues
12. Life Is Hard
13. Hot Kisses
14. Double Crossin' Daddy
15. Tortured Love
16. Work For My Baby
17. You Made Me Baby
18. She's Been Gone
19. Nobody Knows
20. Baby Don't Go
21. Josephine
22. Baby Please (alt. of "She's Been Gone")
23. Hole In The Wall
24. On My Way
25. Good Time Gal
26. Feel Like I Do
27. My Love
28. Wine Head
29. Hard Lovin' Woman
30. My Baby's Blues
31. I Need You Baby

Good hunting!


Bob Mac said...

BW. Thanks for much for H-Bomb.

Bob Mac said...

BW....BTW I have Big City Blues if you need it.

boogiewoody said...

The CD? Got it, thanks, Bob. These Revola CDs have become rarities in the last few years with some online sellers wanting crazy prices for them. It definitely pays to look around for a 2nd hand copy.


KurtGS said...

I have this CD. Do you know anything about it? Stargazer 2002, CDSR1021

christophe said...

Thanks a lot. Great voice, great R&B.

KurtGS said...

I seem to have forgot to mention the title of the Stargazer CD. It is: H-Bomb Ferguson - Rock H-Bomb Rock!

boogiewoody said...

Hi Kurt, I've never seen that Stargazer CD. Is it perhaps a reissue of this CD on Big Bang which also has the title "Rock H-Bomb Rock?" -


KurtGS said...

No, they are completely different. Big Bang has 32 tracks, Stargazer only 22. Different track order.