ROBERTS, ROCKIN' ROBIN

Homebase: Tacoma, WA
Stats: 1940-1967
Misc Notes: The backing band for Roberts' recordings was The Wailers of Tacoma.

"'ROCKIN' ROBIN ROBERTS"
by Peter Blecha
[Courtesy and copyright, 2009, HistoryLink.org]

A founding father of Northwest rock 'n' roll, Tacoma's "Rockin' Robin" Roberts initially sang with that town's trailblazing 1950s white rhythm & blues combo, the Blue Notes. But in mid-1959 he was lured away by their crosstown rivals, the Wailers, who had mainly been known for their role in helping define the original Northwest rock sound, which consisted largely of instrumental tunes. His addition to their lineup proved to be a wise move: Roberts's energetic manner, riveting voice, and deep knowledge of R&B music all combined to make him as charismatic a front man as the Pacific Northwest would ever produce. Ever ambitious, Roberts was a key instigator in pushing his fellow band members to form their own record company, an unprecedented move for a teenaged group. Etiquette Records' debut release -- the earliest garage-rock version of "Louie Louie," and one that featured Roberts's electrifying vocals -- became a number one, region-wide radio hit in 1961 (and again in 1962), and can be credited with inspiring legions of later bands. Sadly, though, Roberts -- who more than any other individual embodied the frenetic spirit of the early Northwest rock scene -- would die far too young. [READ MORE...]

"'ROCKIN' ROBIN ROBERTS DIES IN AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT ON DECEMBER 22, 1967"
by Peter Blecha [Courtesy and copyright, 2009, HistoryLink.org]

On December 22, 1967, Lawrence Fewell "Rockin' Robin" Roberts II (1940-1967) perishes from injuries he sustains as a passenger in a car crash on the Bayshore Freeway in San Mateo, California. Roberts is best remembered by fans of Northwest rock 'n' roll as the frenetic singer who in 1960 helps transform an obscure rhythm & blues song -- Los Angeles musician Richard Berry's 1957 ditty, "Louie Louie" -- into a garage-rock hit with his band, the Wailers. Although Roberts also will record other great tunes with the group (including "Since You Been Gone"), "Louie Louie" will prove to be his lasting claim to fame after it becomes a number one regional radio hit in 1961 and then again in 1962. In 1963, Portland's Kingsmen famously copy Roberts's version and score an international hit with "Louie Louie." [READ MORE...]

The Wailers' Kent Morrill and Robin Roberts  -- plus their dates -- at dinner on Prom Night 1962.

TITLE
LABEL
SERIAL
DATE

MISC NOTES: This version of "Louie Louie" became an instant #1 radio hit in Seattle during  March, 1961. It resurfaced again as a local radio hit in the spring/summer of 1962 during the "Century 21" Seattle World's Fair.

LOCATION: Seattle
RECORDING PERSONNEL: The Wailers
RECORDING STUDIO: Joe Boles Custom Recorders
RECORDING ENGINEER: Joe Boles

FORMAT: disc
SIZE: 7"
SPEED: 45 rpm
DISC NOTES:

[HEAR IT HERE] "Louie Louie"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb9JTI3TBRw

[HEAR IT HERE] "Maryann"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu2p1t4Luok

Known Label Designs:

1PA.) A - B promo disc. White label background. Black top hatted logo, numerals and lettering. Distributed by Liberty Records Sales Corp. Los Angeles, Calif.  AUDITION RECORD lower right of spindle hole..

(Not known if white/black promo labels existed prior to Liberty Records assuming distribution duties.)

1RA.) A - B retail disc.  Red label background. Black top hatted logo, numerals and lettering. No distribution wording.

1PB.) A - B promo disc. White label background. Black top hatted logo, numerals and lettering. Distributed by Liberty Records Sales Corp. Los Angeles, Calif. lower left of spindle hole. No promotional/audition wording. *

1RB.) A - B retail disc. Red label background. Black top hatted logo, numerals and lettering. Distributed by Liberty Record Sales Corp. Los Angeles, Calif. lower left of spindle hole.

"Louie, Louie" Album Reissues:
1.) 1964. Side one track #3 on compilation lp The Wailers & Co. (Etiquette #022)

2.)1983. Side one, track #3 on compilation lp The Best Of Louie, Louie. (Rhino
Records RNEP 605)

A-SIDE MATRIX:
1PA.)  45 - "Louie Louie" (etched wax); E - 001(label)
1RA.) 45 - Louie Louie (etched wax); None (label)
1PB.) Inf. Not Avail. (wax); Inf. Not Avail. (label)
1RB.) 45 - Louie Louie (etched wax); E - 001 (label)
A-SIDE STAMPER CODE:
1PA.) ^38481 - X (March/April, 1960)
1RA.) ^38481 - X (March/April, 1960)
1PB.) Inf. Not Avail.
1RB.) ^38481 - X (March/April, 1960)
A-SIDE COMPOSER: Richard Berry
A-SIDE PUBLISHER: Limax Pub. (BMI)

B-SIDE MATRIX:
1PA.) 45 - Mary Ann (etched wax); E - 002 (label)
1RA.) Mary Ann (etched wax); None (label)
1PB.) Mary Ann (etched wax); E - 002 (label)
1RB.) Mary Ann (etched wax); E - 002 (label)
B-SIDE STAMPER CODE:
1PA.) ^38481 (March/April, 1960)
1RA.) ^38481 (March/April, 1960)
1PB.) Inf. Not Avail.
1RA.) ^38481 (March/April, 1960)
B-SIDE COMPOSER: Ray Charles
B-SIDE PUBLISHER: Progressive (BMI)

Don Blocker with the Promotion Dept. at Liberty Records:  "(In 1961) Liberty had (distribution for) the original rock version of 'Louie, Louie.'  It was on Etiquette Records by (Rockin' Robin Roberts and) the Wailers. I bought the master because it was selling in the Northwest. But I couldn't convince anyone to go out and work it, especially Bob Skaff, who was head of promotion at the time. He said 'It's a white group, but they sound R & B, I can't promote that.' He wouldn't work it, and he didn't work it. Then  (in 1963) the Kingsmen came out with an identical version. Our version was first, and (in 1964) I got it released on [the] Imperial album [Tall Cool One LP-9262] but (again) could not convince anyone that it was a hit."

(Adapted from: Liberty Records A History of the Recording Company and Its Stars 1955 - 1971 Vol. 1 pg. #383. Michael "Doc Rock" Kelly 1993)

MISC NOTES: Artist credit on labels = Robin Roberts.

LOCATION:
RECORDING PERSONNEL:
RECORDING STUDIO:
RECORDING ENGINEER:

FORMAT: disc
SIZE:7"
SPEED: 45 rpm
DISC NOTES:

[HEAR IT HERE] "You Don't Love Me"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO40FXG2yWc

[HEAR IT HERE] "You Weren't.......
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZRZViYaYOY

Known Label Designs:
2PA.) A - B promo disc.White label background. Black stylized e logo, numerals and lettering. including PROMOTIONAL COPY NOT FOR SALE

As far as is known,due to the sudden, untimely death of Roberts, no retail A - B discs were pressed/released.

A-SIDE MATRIX:
2PA.) ET - 26 - A (etched wax); ET - 26 - A (label)
A-SIDE STAMPER CODE:
2PA.) ^64010 (November/December, 1966)
A-SIDE COMPOSER: T. Raye
A-SIDE PUBLISHER: Chappell & Co. (A.S.C.A.P.)

B-SIDE MATRIX:
2PA.) ET - 26 - B (etched wax); ET - 26- B (label)
B-SIDE STAMPER CODE:
2PA.) ^64010 - X (November/December, 1966)
B-SIDE COMPOSER: R. Gardner
B-SIDE PUBLISHER: Valet Pub. Inc. (B.M.I.)

MISC NOTES: Serial Number on label = ET-45-0290. Artist credit on labels = Rockin' Robin Roberts with the Fabulous Wailers.

LOCATION: Tacoma, WA
RECORDING PERSONNEL: Rockin' Robin Roberts (vocals); The Wailers
RECORDING STUDIO:
RECORDING ENGINEER:

FORMAT: disc
SIZE: 7"
SPEED: 45 rpm
DISC NOTES:

Known Label Designs:
21A.) A - B retail disc.  First label design. Red label background. Black  logo, numerals and lettering.

A-SIDE MATRIX:
1RA.) ET 45 - 0290 - A   L 20562 (etched wax); None (label)
A-SIDE STAMPER CODE:
1RA.) None
A-SIDE COMPOSER: R. Berry
A-SIDE PUBLISHER: Limax  Music (BMI)

B-SIDE MATRIX:
1RA) ET 45 - 0290 - B  L20562 - X (etched wax); None (label)
B-SIDE STAMPER CODE:
1RA) None
B-SIDE COMPOSER: Robin Roberts
B-SIDE PUBLISHER: Valet Pub. Co. (BMI)

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