DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Roy Roberts On The Horn

Posted in Interviews by darielb on October 30, 2008
Every once in a while I get a phone call from Roy Roberts … just to bring me up to date on what he’s working on, who he’s producing, what’s on his mind. And I always say, “When are you coming to the beach, Roy?” And, sure enough, he says, “Oh, I don’t expect to be playing the beach.”
I’m kinda bummed. I think the last time I saw him was in 2004, when he earned CBMA’s Blues Song of the Year for “I Slipped, Tripped and Fell In Love.” I love that bluesy voice of his.
Roy Roberts has not only been honored by CBMA in 2004 and again in 2006, when he received the Pioneer Award and was inducted into the Hall of fame. He has also earned a Living Blues Producer of the Year award and Italy’s Franco Rubegni award for soul music.
Gary Erwin, president of the Lowcountry Blues Society, said, “A Roy Roberts Show is an irrestible musical odyssey, a sweat-drenched pilgrimage through the back alleys of the blues and the glory years of soul music. There aren’t many performers on the scene today who know the importance of ‘entertainment’ like Roy Roberts.”
Originally from Tennessee, Roy says he used to listen to Nashville’s WLAC radio. He loved the blues; he loved R&B. He worked on a farm in order to earn enough money for his very first guitar (a mail-order Sears Silvertone, according to his website).
After he moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, at the ripe old age of 18, Roy was fortunate enough to see The Iceman Jerry Butler perform, and once again he was inspired to improve his own skills. Soon, he would be playing various beach and soul venues with Guitar Kimber’s Untouchables and backing up some of the artists that came through town. One such artist was Solomon Burke, who would go on to become the legendary soul singer known all over the world.
Roy began to tour with Eddie Floyd, Stevie Wonder (Little Stevie Wonder in those days), Dee Clark and Otis Redding. During this time, he also had his own band, the Roy Roberts Experience, which played a lot of regional beach clubs.
The death of Otis Redding hit Roy hard, and prompted him to record his tribute to the late soul singer.
Hanging in there through disco and country, Roy credits Robert Cray with bringing him back to the blues. His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2001, he was also honored by the Piedmont Blues Society.
Roy formed Rock House Records in 1996. The label roster includes Chick Willis, Floyd Miles, Priscilla Price, Johnny Rawls, Skeeter Brandon, Tommy Thomas, Maria Rolls and Mark Van Mourick. Roy also produced Becky Fox Baldwin’s “Just the Way You Are” in 2007, and has just finished producing her latest single, “Through Lovers’ Eyes,” which will be released on KHP’s compilation, Carolina Beach Girls this fall. Other recent recordings by Roy Roberts include It’s Only You (2008), Man With a Message (2007), Roy Roberts & Friends Blues & Soul Review (2006) and Sicily Moon (2006).
Roy has been busy touring Europe. And, of course, he plays Pinehurst and Greensboro. In fact, he’s been doing gigs with Barbara Carr, which brings me back to why he called me this time.
If you’ve been listening to The Surf, you may have heard the duet he’s put out with Barbara, “It’s Only You.” It’s a real smooth R&B tune with a definite shag groove for all you SOS-ers in town for Fall Migration. (Interestingly, this is also the title track for his latest CD, but not the duet version.) 
Barbara Carr began singing as a child in church in St. Louis, Missouri. She and her sisters sang throughout Missouri as the Crosby Sisters. She got her first record deal with Chess Records, where she recorded. While with Chess, she would record “I Can’t Stop Now” and “Think About It Baby.” In 1984, she recorded Good Woman Go Bad at Wishbone Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama – on her own BarCar label. Following that, she released Street Woman. In 1996 she signed with blues and soul blues label Ecko Records, where she has recorded eight CDs, including her compilation Best of Barbara Carr. Currently Carr is recording with Hollister Entertainment Group. She has been twice honored by Living Blues magazine as Female Artist of the Year.
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