The 1st time I laid eyes on it I figured it to be somewhere I’d never go – fifteen or so years later I finally went in. I was in the “old” half , for those of you who knew the place. It was a Sunday , my brother was visiting and wanted a beer and I live in a dry county. Bob’s was a private club.
The collage of Bob was hanging behind the register, along with a half dozen or so pretty cool pieces of memorabilia from the 50’s and early 60’s scattered around the place. We had a couple brews, soaking in the “atmosphere” of the locals dropping in, every one of them knew we weren’t from around there. They’d have one and buy some “to go” and we were shooting pool so really didn’t speak to anyone.
Our bar maid brought us cold ones while we played and caught up some with each other. My brother rolls his own cigarettes & was doing this when she walked back once- she freaked out until figuring out it was tobacco, anyhow we got into a conversation since we were the only folks in the joint at the moment. She told us about the dance hall adjacent, and how we needed to come on a Saturday night etc. I’m like “say I saw guys leaving with beer, can I buy some?” Half listening and wanting to leave. In walks Bob King. The epitome of what I thought a ‘crazy old coot’ picture would look like if I looked this up in the encyclopedia
(that’s ‘on google’ for you youngsters) he kinda rambled on for a few minutes about something & I had no clue what he said, not one word. I tried to interest him putting a credit card machine in (they only accepted cash) as I worked for a bank at the time. He grabbed something from behind the bar and out the back he went… I saw him again one day in town and finally spoke, what stories I heard, what stories I missed hearing… RIP Bob- These will be continued in another post as this day I bought some to go’s and split.
Fast forward a few (about 10) years… I’m with a buddy who says, “Let’s go to Bob Kings and have a beer” I’m like OK… this time the dance hall side is open. The whole place is covered with photographs of every Sun Studio legend and so many more, artists from 60 years of performances…everything signed. I ask if I can go get a camera & they’re like “sure”.
I was literally bending light shades from pool tables to light these as it was so dark, a guy went out to his truck and brought in a LED work/drop light. the sounds of Bob King’s live at the end of the video you hear someone breaking on the pool table.
I met Robby King this day, he’s Bob’s son – I did not hesitate to get every story I could….my favorite about Bob?
He told me of a man coming in asking to buy the floor, the entire floor… wanted to sell it to Elvis fans- Bob told him no, but the fellow was persistent. Bob told him if he asked again he’d throw him out. Guy begged him, “I’ll give you 500 dollars for just a board from it”…
Bob finally agreed this was a deal and reached into a tool bag and came up with a big screwdriver and pried up a loose board on the stage and said “I had to fix this loose one anyhow” The man was ecstatic and headed home with his prize.
Robbie said he asked his dad why he was so reluctant to sell the man a board… and Bob said
“Son, do you have any idea how many stage floors I’ve put in the place the last 20 years?”
Another favorite was about a time when Elvis was bugging Bob about hiring his ‘buddy’ for the night- Bob said he’d pay 10 dollars for a guitar picker but Elvis insisted he’d need 25 and that he’d not go on either unless he got it.
Every bit of this building went up in flames- tons of soot and ash – glad I shot this piece in 2011- nearly too far gone to salvage anything, nearly. Managed to snag a bit from under this roadhouse. Enough for a few small reduction cuts… those prints will be VERY limited edition
I started collecting timbers from old venues to make stuff to preserve the “legends” – this is the origin of Delta9 Studio- foundation from the foundations…
managed to snag some charred but usable wood to do reduction cut prints
(a multicolored print is made with the repeated use of a single block)
Robbie King (Bob’s son) waving to a guest pulling in last August just days before the 60th Anniversary party