I admit, I came to appreciate Bob Luman (1937-1978) fairly late in the game. I was dimly aware of his roots as a rockabilly second-stringer, and always figured his later work on Epic was sort of a sad, last-ditch effort. But finally, one day I spotted a bunch of his old '60s/'70s LPs at the right price, picked them up, and was (of course) totally won over. Luman was a hard country crooner, more rugged than old-timers like Jim Reeves or Eddy Arnold, but not quite as hard-edged as Johnny Cash or Buck Owens. Perhaps not surprisingly, Luman, who died in the 1970s, shared a lot in common stylistically with Conway Twitty and Charlie Rich, also former rockers who fell under the sway of the slick Nashville studio scene, but managed to retain some vigor and individuality in their work. Luman mainly sang love songs, often with a steamy, Twittyesque afternoon-delight edge to them. Here's a quick look at his career...
Bob Luman "Bob Rocks!" (Bear Family, 2008)
Bob Luman "Classic Country" (Scimitar Entertainment, 1998)
This disc seems to be the only single CD collection of his work, spanning from his first hit, the bouncy, cheerfully anti-tragedy "Let's Think About Living" to later countrypolitan weepers such as "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)" and "Lonely Women (Make Good Lovers." If you can track this down, it's highly recommended.
Bob Luman "Let's Think About Living: 1955-1967" (Bear Family, 2006)
This 4-CD set covers Luman's rockabilly years, and his migration into the slower-paced world of honkytonk crooning... Cool stuff, though probably more of interest to rockabilly fans and completists.
Bob Luman "Ten Years: 1968-1977" (Bear Family, 2000)
Hmm. It says that this 5-CD set covers Luman's last ten years of work, but it seems to include a bunch of his earlier songs as well. Re-recordings, perhaps? Well, at any rate, it's a much-welcome look back at this sorely underrated honkytonk crooner. If I get the chance to pick this set up and suss it all out, I'll be sure to let you know.
Bob Luman "The Great Snowman: 1959-1963" (Canetoad, 2002)
Bob Luman "Red Hot: 1956-1957" (El Toro, 2008)
Bob Luman "Bob Luman Rocks: His 1950s Recordings" (Sparkletone)
Bob Luman "Loretta" (Sundown, 2000)
Bob Luman "Rockabilly Classics" (Rockabilly Records, 2009)
Bob Luman "Let's Think About Living -- The Best Of Bob Luman" (Smith & Co., 2007)
Bob Luman "...At Town Hall Party" (Bear Family, 2003) (DVD)
Bob Luman "Let's Think About Livin' " (Warner Brothers, 1960)
Bob Luman "Livin' Lovin' Sounds" (Hickory, 1965)
Bob Luman "Ain't Got Time To Be Unhappy" (Epic, 1968)
Bob Luman "Come On Home And Sing The Blues To Daddy" (Epic, 1969)
Bob Luman "Gettin' Back To Norma" (Epic, 1970)
Bob Luman "Is It Any Wonder That I Love You" (Epic, 1971)
Bob Luman "Chain Don't Take To Me" (Epic, 1971)
Bob Luman "When You Say Love" (Epic, 1972)
Bob Luman "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers" (Epic, 1972)
Bob Luman "Neither One Of Us" (Epic, 1973)
Bob Luman "Still Loving You" (MGM-Hickory, 1974)
Bob Luman "Red Cadillac And Black Moustache" (Epic, 1974)
Bob Luman "A Satisfied Mind" (Epic, 1976)
Bob Luman "Alive And Well" (Epic, 1977)
Bob Luman "Bob Luman" (Polydor, 1978)
Bob Luman "Bob Luman's Greatest Hits" (Epic, 1974)
Hick Music Index