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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Bobby Poe (April 13, 1933-January 22, 2011) also known as The Poe Kat, had a long and varied career in the music business.
He was born in Vinita, Oklahoma. In the mid-1950s he formed Bobby Poe and The Poe Kats, which featured African-American piano player Big Al Downing and lead guitar player Vernon Sandusky. Bobby Poe and The Poe Kats were also Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson's first Rock and Roll backing band. They toured with Wanda and also can be found on her early Capitol Records recordings, including the Rockabilly classic "Let's Have A Party". Bobby, Wanda, Big Al and Vernon are all members of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
Bobby Poe and The Poe Kats got the attention of Sam Phillips of Sun Records with their first recorded track, "Rock and Roll Record Girl". Based on the music of the old standard "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy", "Rock and Roll Record Girl" was at first blocked from release by Wesley Rose of Acuff-Rose because of that fact. By the time all of the legal hurdles were cleared, Sam Phillips was no longer interested in releasing the track. Instead, Dallas, Texas radio personality Jim Lowe stepped in and released the single on his White Rock Records label. "Rock and Roll Record Girl" backed with "Rock and Roll Boogie" became a #1 single in the state of Texas.
After one more single for Jim Lowe's White Rock Records entitled "Piano Nellie", under the name of Bobby Brant and The Rhythm Rockers, Bobby Poe gave up his career as an artist to become an artist manager. His first client was Big Al Downing. In the 1960s, Poe moved to the Washington, D.C. area and expanded his operation. He managed and co-produced The Chartbusters, which featured his old bandmate Vernon Sandusky. The Chartbusters scored a Top 40 hit in 1964 with their recording "She's The One". Tom Hanks was quoted in People Magazine as saying The Chartbusters were one of the influences for his film "That Thing You Do!". Poe also co-managed The British Walkers, which featured Bobby Howard and guitarist Roy Buchanan.
In 1968, Poe again switched gears and started several music tip sheets for music industry insiders and radio stations. The most successful tip sheet was Pop Music Survey, which grew significantly when Poe began an annual music convention. After 25 successful conventions, Poe retired in 1996.
After his "official" retirement in 1996, in 1999 he created The Grand Grove Opry in Grove, Oklahoma. This music theater showcased local and national Country music talent and shows were broadcast weekly on KITO radio in Vinita, Oklahoma. After new owners bought the Opry building, Mr. Poe continued to promote Country music concerts until 2005.
In March 2009 Bobby Poe and The Poe Kats were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.
Bobby Poe died at his home in Grove, Oklahoma on January 22, 2011. He had been diagnosed with throat cancer in 2009. While he was able to beat the cancer, he grew steadily weaker during his recovery and suffered a fatal blood clot on the aforementioned date.
Sharon E. Cathcart
on Aug. 28, 2011 :
I must say, I was disappointed by this book. First of all, it's written as a 'screenplay,' and leaves out a great deal of what might have been fascinating information.
For example, the Poe Kats (rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson's original backup band) were an integrated group. The only thing Poe says about playing gigs under Jim Crow was to complain that they had to stay in hotels because Big Al Downing (who later became a country music star) couldn't stay in hotels. Really? Surely there were some other challenges.
Poe seems to be whining a lot of the time that he was not as successful as he wanted to be, despite having some regional hits with the Poe Kats, a chart-topper in the '60s with the Chartbusters and some other experiences that most musicians would find thrilling (including playing with Jackson). Poe eventually finds success as publisher and editor of the Pop Music Survey, which is glossed over to talk about how the 'black mafia' destroyed his Soul Music Survey.
Actually, everything is glossed over -- and that's what disappointed me the most. There was so much room to share insights and experiences in detail, and Poe failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
(reviewed long after purchase)