Who was/is Bob Roubian ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Bob Roubian

During Capitol’s early years, Cliffie Stone had his hands in a lot of pies. He began recording for the label in 1946 as a bandleader, slapping a mean upright bass. He had a sharp eye for talent and was instrumental in bringing Tennessee Ernie Ford and Hank Thompson onto Capitol. Stone did a whole lot of A&R work, helping to shape the label’s early country sound prior to Ken Nelson’s arrival, and steered a lot of copyrights from his publishing company, Central Songs, to Capitol artists.


Cliffie also hosted ‘Hometown Jamboree,’ a live country music program that aired over the Los Angeles radio and television airwaves for a decade from 1949 to ’59. Born Clifford Gilpin Snyder on March 1, 1917 in Stockton, California, Cliffie came by his country leanings naturally—his father, known as Herman the Hermit, was a hillbilly performer. The versatile Stone played bass in the non-country orchestras of Freddie Slack and Anson Weeks and performed comedy and did hosting duties on L.A. radio programs including ‘Hollywood Barn Dance’ and ‘Dinner Bell Roundup.’


Capitol welcomed Stone in 1946, a year after he began recording for the Bel-Tone label as Cliffie Stonehead (the ‘head’ disappeared when he moved over). In cahoots with Merle Travis, he co-wrote No Vacancy and Divorce Me C.O.D., mammoth hits for the guitarist extraordinaire in 1946 on Capitol. It didn’t take long for Stone to turn up on the C&W charts himself—Silver Stars, Purple Sage, Eyes Of Blue was his first hit in 1947, followed by Peepin’ Through The Keyhole (Watching Jole Blon) (penned by Sheb Wooley) and When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again in ‘48. He also knew instrumental talent, bringing steel guitar wizard Speedy West and guitar master Jimmy Bryant onto Capitol’s roster.


Stone was still at it in 1955, scoring his first pop hit for Capitol with the novelty The Popcorn Song, its vocal handled by Bob Roubian. Billy Strange and West sang the rocking flip, Barracuda, as a duet. Cliffie cut the minor-key Here Comes The Train on August 18, 1955 at Capitol’s studio on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Vocalist Roubian was co-billed, and he wrote it as well as the flip, Gonna Marry That Gal. Both sides were unabashed rock and roll in the Comets/Jodimars mode with booting sax and slashing guitar.


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