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.


Anonymous said...

Picture of Barbara Grindstaff at http://books.google.com/books?id=1fVW-AZJUhQC&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=barbara+grindstaff&source=web&ots=-P1dYUzk77&sig=wwecFE5rPJjkRRtZ1ivRe7JG_XQ#PPA83,M1

Flo Murdock said...

Really enjoyed the clip, always loved Chicken Feed. Her discography shows how different the industry was back then - can you imagine a record company - a MAJOR label - sticking with an artist from 1965-1968 with only one charted record in that time - and it didn't even break the top 20. They must have really believed in her talent.

Derik said...

I posted another of her records, and linked this posting to it. thanks.


Anonymous said...

Please correct the information for BOBBI STAFF. Her write-up says she was born in KINGSTON, NC. There is no Kingston, NC; there is a Kinston, NC--but she was not born there. Let's get her write-up on Obscure Singers corrected.

Anonymous said...

Bobbi Staff was actually born in Shelby, NC. Please remove the reference to Kingston, NC; there is no Kingston, NC. There is a Kinston, but she was not born there.

Unknown said...

"Bobbi" or Barbara is my great aunt, she is still alive today and I have this current information given to me by barbara herself a couple of years ago when her sister Carolyn died. Her only brother is my grandfather and I saw him yesterday as a matter of fact and he is healthy and has 3 children one of them being my mother. I appreciate Whomever found the old tape it feels good to hear her voice again! Thanks!!

Unknown said...

Bobbi was born in shelby and I was there yesterday with her brother whom still lives near there!!

Unknown said...

I found a CD for sale that has all Bobbi's recordings on it, even the ones under her given name. I can attest that the recordings are good quality. (I'm not affiliated.) http://www.sunpk.com/art/cdart/pages/01099bobbi.htm

O.A. Heffner said...

I grew up with Barbara. She was always talented and very sweet. She won The Ted Mack Amateur Hour in the 50s.

Chivous Bradley said...

Kingston is a little community just northwest of Shelby, NC.

Bob L. said...

My sister was Chet Atkins's secretary when I was in the army. once in 964 when I came home on leave, somehow I had a "date" with Bobbi. She had just moved to Nashville and was staying with her manager and his wife in a mansion on Franklin Road near Brentwood. It was an innocuous "date," and I think we went to a pancake house. I did get one of her publicity pictures which she autographed for me. When I went back to the base, the guys thought I was more of a ladies' man than I was. When I was in basic training at Fort Polk, Skeeter Davis used to dedicate songs to me and my friends at Fort Polk. She was friends with my sister, and my niece sung with Skeeter the last few years of Skeeter's life.

Anonymous said...

She is in a nursing home in Nashville. I've never seen any family come to visit her. They should be ashamed.

Unknown said...

It is my hope that she gets this message wherever she currently resides. We were classmates at Cool Springs High School in the early 60's in Forest City, NC. I would share 2 memories. The first memory was our competition in Americanism Speech Contest at Cool Springs which she won and I was second in 1961. The second is the toga party that we attended at Cool Springs after which a group of 5 girls jumped into my old 1954 Chevrolet BelAir and we spent the next couple hours driving around Forest City all dressed in sheets.. included Judith M. and Lavelle M. Great memories of her before she left Forest City to start her country music career.

Unknown said...

I found an autographed picture of her in a signed faron young album