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Bobby Sowell Biography - Life and Times - Early Musical Influences - Formative Years

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The formative years...

Born on a hot July 8th, 1947 in Memphis, Tennessee, Bobby was the third child of his father and first child of his mother. He was named after a famous Southern Baptist preacher, Dr Robert G. Lee (*see letter). He had two older brothers, James Jr. and John, a younger sister, Sandy and two younger brothers, Michael and Gene. Michael died in 1958 at the age of 10.

His Father worked at a farm equipment plant and his mother mostly stayed home and raised the children, which was a difficult job in itself considering all the boys she had to contend with. Bobby, along with his siblings, was raised in an obscured neighborhood called Frayser, which to this day still has jokes about it and probably explains why Bobby has such a good sense of humor.

Bobby's brothers and sister seemed to have gotten out of Frayser, OK and are doing just fine. James lives in Lincoln, NB, owns rental properties; John lives in Bartlett, TN and a retired Brick Layer; Sandy also lives in Bartlett and is a home maker; Gene Lives in Houston, TX, a lawyer and President of Local 747 Teamster Union, Airline Division.

...Early Influences

Growing up in Memphis, Bobby had a lot of diversified musical influences. Early influences included Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins & Muddy Waters. But what really got his attention were the piano players of that day, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Roger Williams & Floyd Cramer. (Bobby met Floyd Cramer when he was 16 years old and that experience really had a lasting effect on Bobby's music.) On the family side, his Father played harmonica & piano by ear and his Mother sang, played the guitar and was on the radio in the early 30s. They used to have regular family sing-a-longs, inviting area musicians to join in.

Bobby's Father bought an upright piano for $20.00 in hopes that Bobby's sister Sandy would learn to play it and play in church. He wanted to give her piano lessons, but Bobby's mother insisted that the boys take lessons too! None of them except Bobby seemed to be interested or showed any kind of musical talent. During that time period, there was a strange new kind of music that was sweeping the country and it was actually born in Memphis at Sun Studio. It was called Rockabilly, later to be coined Rock n Roll. Those early Rock n Roll years along with being subjected to the sounds of Rockabilly, Honkytonk, Blues, Gospel and his Mothers Country music really had an influence on Bobby's music creativity & can be heard in his music style today.

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*1947 Letter from Dr R.G. Lee

Bobby 1958

Bobby at
a Glance!

Musical Preferences:
Easy, Jazz, Country, Blues
First Professional Gig: 12
Recordings: 6 CDs
Affilitated Companies:
BS Productions
Bobby Sowell Enterprises
New Deal Music Company
DeltaSun Productions
Arlington Road Band