Born: , 22 April 1931, Ashland, Kentucky (Some sources say 1929)
Died: 20 August 1999, Wood, West Virginia.
The first time I heard of Bob Gallion was My Square Dancin' Mama (She's Done Learned To Rock 'n' Roll) and Baby, Love Me on an MGM rockabilly album. His vocals on them are pure country and despite the excitement of the backing, it was pretty much his only stab at rock 'n' roll. His voice is country, fair and square, and though the songs sometimes veered slightly (very slightly) to the poppy sound, his voice never did. He is an excellent and much undervalued singer.
Bob Gallion took up the guitar at an early age whilst growing up in Columbus, Ohio and had turned pro by his 20th birthday. He worked local gigs and radio programmes before joining Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper's Clinch Mountain Clan on Wheeling's WWVA Jamboree. In 1951 he formed his own band, the Country Boys and stayed on the Jamboree until '56 when he became a regular performer on the Louisiana Hayride.
Next thing he knew he was signed to MGM and penned a songwriting contract with Acuff-Rose. He cut about 20 tracks in six sessions between February 1956 and Feb 1959. The quality was high but the record sales unfortunately did them little justice. There were small hits in That's What I Tell My Heart (a co-write with Luke McDaniel that should have been massive) and You Take The Tables And I'll Take The Chairs, but there were others that should have done much better. Hey Mr Bartender, Trademark On What I've Found and You've Gotta Have A Heartache (To Know How To Love) were especially strong.
When his MGM contract expired, he moved to Hickory and immediately began to register hits. Over the next couple of years he scored with Loving You, One Way Street and Wall To Wall Love, a top 5 country hit penned by June and Helen Carter. He left Hickory in 1968 and joined United Artists, as well as returning to the Wheeling Jamboree where he stayed for nigh on twenty years.
Recommended lsitening: Out Of A Honky Tonk (Bear Family BCD 16439)