Roscoe Robinson, Oral History

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Title

Roscoe Robinson, Oral History

Description

Roscoe Robinson (b. May 22, 1928) Roscoe Robinson, sometimes called "Scoe" is continuing to sing and record at 92. Born in Dermott, Arkansas to a musical family, Robinson's father was a minister and his mother sang spirituals and he had sisters, one of whom taught music, and thus began a long and ongoing career in the gospel field joined in the 1960's with a parallel career in RnB. Roscoe was 90 at the time of this interview - recorded in his home in Birmingham - and yet, he paints a vivid picture of his time in many cities and with many gospel quartets as well as offering insights into the recording industry of his time.

Creator

Roscoe Robinson
Bob Friedman

Publisher

Birmingham Black Radio Museum

Date

September 20, 2018

Contributor

Tabor Chapman
Emily L. Reynolds
Emily Bibb

Format

PDF
JPG
WAV

Language

English

Interviewer

Bob Friedman

Interviewee

Roscoe Robinson

Location

Birmingham AL

Transcription

Transcript of Audio Snippet:

Bob Friedman: So stuff is happening in Birmingham, Alabama. And different places out – Where were you while all this fervor is going on? The Children’s March, the bombings, all that –

Roscoe Robinson: Well, I came here, (Birmingham) I think it was in ’63 or ’64. I’m trying to think of the reverend’s name that had the church here that passed… What was his name?

BF: You don’t mean Shuttlesworth? You don’t mean Reverend Shuttlesworth?

RR: Yeah, Reverend Shuttlesworth. I did some things for him. And also, they had a guy, a preacher, that was affiliated with the march...was named Reverend… I think it was Reverend Owens, I think his name was Owens... And he booked us, booked me, quite a few places.

BF: When you say booked you, you mean the Five Blind Boys?

RR: No, Me! I wasn't with the Blind Boys.

BF: Oh okay. So what happened? How’d you lose the Blind Boys?

RR: Well see now this – you’re going to go into – It’s a long story; I’m trying to dodge it. You want to hear?

BF: Well, yeah. Sure.

RR: How I left the Blind Boys was: the contract was up with Peacock and I went to Mr. Robey and I said, “Man, we need a car and we need some clothes.” And he said, “Well man, the record ain’t...stopped selling and....” I said, “Man, Sending Up My Timber was the biggest thing going on with any group, anywhere. You don’t have to tell me. I know about it.” Well, he said, “We can’t do nothing about it.” So I said, “Okay, Archie said the contract would be up in another two weeks or three weeks.” I said, “When it’s up I ain’t gonna sign.” Well it’s all right with me. So, we kept on and the contract was up and we did a show in Houston. Don Robey came up and said, “Hey man, I heard you all had signed with Chess.” I said, “Yeah. We signed with Chess.” I knew Leonard Chess and Phil Chess from R&B and blues singers, but not from gospel. So I had talked to Leonard, and Leonard said, “Hey man, okay.” And I said, “Okay we’ll think about it.”

Duration

Full Interview: 01:28:05
Audio Snippet: 2 minutes

Citation

Roscoe Robinson and Bob Friedman, “Roscoe Robinson, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed October 27, 2020, http://thebbrm.org/item/539.

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