21 July 2007

Bobbi Staff = Barbara Grindstaff

Bobbi Staff recorded a few good pop/ country songs in the second half of the 1960s.
Her real name was Barbara Grindstaff, she was born in Shelby NC, 1946.
According to Tom Armstrong's site she grew up Forest City, NC and was married to a fellow who wound up playing piano on Ralph Emery's TV show.

Though she is labeled a country singer and had a minor C&W hit, the songs are not strictly country but more general teenage Nashville pop music.

Listen to a sample of Pride (1966). A good song with a catchy organ. Composed by Lou Zerto.

Bobbi's discography:

Showcase 2500: Have Mercy (Mel Tillis) / Where The Red Roses Grow

RCA 8689: Where Did the Summer Go (Gary Gold/ Peter Udell) b/w I'm Available (Just For You) (Oct 1965)
RCA 8333: I Didn't Cry Today (Skeeter Davis) b/w Chicken Feed (#31 C&W hit, Vance Bulla)
RCA 9024: He Can Be Your Baby (Loudermilk) b/w Pride (Zerto)
RCA 9093: The Red Light Is Green (Robison-Wilson) b/w Straight To Helen (Blackwell)
RCA 9251: Sun Tan and Wind Blown Time (Jean Chapel) b/w I Can't Find My Walking Shoes (Sandra Rhodes)
RCA 9363: He Chickened Out On Me (Alexander) b/w Bobby Blows A Blue Note (Light)
RCA 9504: Back Away (Fort) b/w Ring Beats A Promise (Briggs-Rule).

I have never seen a picture of the singer and no idea what has happened to her after 1968.
Anyone who can help me...?

UPDATE Feb 2008:
A reaction by anonymous gave me a link to the book about Forest City by Anita Price Davis and James M. Walker, with 2 Staff pictures and more details of her career.

It turns out she sang at a very young age for talent shows. Singing and touring abroad, in Europe in 1957.
Later she performed for 'my' queen Juliana and President LBJ in 1963, (that must have been after Kennedy's funeral??). She was a regular at George Hamilton IV's shows.

UPDATE May 2009:
I was very surprised to find out a 1963 footage of Bobbi singing live on tv still exists!. She is singing "Honey Comb", backed up by The Hayriders, for Dutch television, December 1963. About 99% of all that has been aired on TV those years has gone lost, it seems to be a wonder that the tape with TV-show that had Bobbi's performance has been saved!
Two stills form that show:

See video clip below

And after 1968...? No more details yet.

I've got a reaction on the video from 2 nieces of Bobbi. They wrote: Aunt Barbara is still alive and well and living in Nashville. She has two children, a daughter and a son. Barbara stopped recording and performing around 1969 when she became pregnant with her daughter. Barbara divorced Jerry Whitehurst (performed on Hee Haw) in the late 70 – early 80’s and she never remarried. Aunt Barbara is awesome, they wrote, she is fun, quick witted, and has always been very close to them.