The Speedboys formed around 1978 in Lancaster, Pa. It consisted of Robert Bobby on vocals, Bobby Blue Blake on guitar, Bobby Sheehan on guitar, Bobby Lawson on bass & Bobby Schmidt on drums. We played an eclectic mix of originals, blues, rhythm & blues, English wave like Elvis Costello & Rockpile & most anything we wanted to play. A typical set might include Commander Cody, Mitch Ryder, Ray Charles, Fabulous Thunderbirds etc. The original name of the band was The West Philly Speed Boys - later shortened to The Speedboys. We started to gather a nice little following in the Lancaster area.
The first personnel change was the addition of Bobby Lowry on piano & harmonica. He played a real console piano which we had to haul from job to job. Stories of hauling the piano would warrant their own website. The piano gave the band a real boogie woogie element.
The second personnel change was when Bobby Sheehan left the band & was replaced by Bobby Kinsley. This really changed The Speedboys into basically 2 bands in one. The main band being fronted by Robert Bobby and the alternate was when Robert Bobby took a much deserved break (can you tell Robert Bobby is writing this?) and Bobby Kinsley took the helm. With the addition of Bobby Kinsley, The Speedboys now had 2 singer-songwriters and the original music really took off. We recorded 2 self produced albums & received quite a bit of critical acclaim from Rolling Stone to the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. Two reviews from The Village Voice follow:
Robert Christgau Consumer Guide Reviews:
That's What I Like [I Like Mike, 1982]
Harking back to a time when pop and boogie weren't mutually exclusive, Robert Bobby recalls such unlikely influences as Dino Valenti, Roy A. Loney, Marty Balin, and George Gerdes on tunes that are neither speedy nor boyish enough for '80s cool. Cheerfully regressive in more ways than one, his gift for the pungent phrase is inspired mostly by the Colorado resident celebrated mostly by the Colorado resident celebrated in "Little Bit Nasty, Little Bit Nice." "My baby's mean as she can be/But she's only mean to me," he exults; "I knew something was cooking/When you took your matte knife to my back," he realizes; "Come on home and/Treat me wrong again," he pleads. Guitarist Bobby Blue Blake adds off-color chords. A-
Look What Love's Done to Me Now [I Like Mike, 1983]
I don't often wonder what the world is coming to because someone can't get a record contract--after all, life is unfair--but here I'm tempted. A sharp, witty bar-band-blues LP like the first is one thing, but the mid-tempo stuff on this entry could fit in right next to Tom Petty and Bob Seger if only some hotshot producer would oil Robert Bobby's voice up a little. That's no advantage as far as I'm concerned, but uncommercial it ain't. What could be the problem? Surely not the antinuke overtones of "Hearts Like Atoms Split." Maybe somebody noticed the chorus of "Anna": "Anna, anabolic steroid/Oh Anna, you made a man outta me." B+