Bob Gaddy

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Bob Gaddy
Bob Gaddy.jpg
Background information
Born (1924-02-04)February 4, 1924
Vivian, West Virginia, United States
Died July 24, 1997(1997-07-24) (aged 73)
The Bronx, New York, United States
Genres East Coast blues, rhythm and blues[1]
Occupation(s) Pianist, singer, songwriter
Instruments Piano, vocals
Years active 1947–1997
Labels Various

Bob Gaddy (February 4, 1924 – July 24, 1997) was an American East Coast blues and rhythm and blues pianist, singer and songwriter. He is best remembered for his recordings of "Operator" and "Rip and Run," and musical work he undertook with Larry Dale, Wild Jimmy Spruill, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.[2]


Gaddy was born in Vivian, West Virginia, a small town based around coal mining.[1][3] He learned to play the piano at a young age, both playing and singing in his local church. In 1943 he was conscripted and served in the Navy, being stationed in California. He progressed from learning the blues and, using his gospel background, graduated towards the boogie-woogie playing style.[3]

He played in blues clubs in Oakland and San Francisco, but after World War II finished he relocated to New York in 1946. Gaddy later commented "I came to New York just to visit, because I was on my way to the West Coast. Somehow or other, I just got hooked on it. New York got into my system and I've been stuck here ever since."[3]

He found work as a blues pianist, and in the late 1940s Gaddy provided accompaniment to both Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry. He later backed Larry Dale, and befriended Champion Jack Dupree. Dupree penned "Operator" for Gaddy, one of his best selling numbers.[3] Gaddy recorded firstly for Jackson Records with his debut single being "Bicycle Boogie" in 1952. Gaddy later spent time with the Jax, Dot and Harlem record labels, before joining Hy Weiss' Old Town Records in 1956. It was here that Gaddy had his most commercially successful period, particularly with "I Love My Baby," "Paper Lady," and "Rip and Run." His earlier recordings often had McGhee in the recording studio with Gaddy, although his Old Town recordings utilised the guitarists Jimmy Spruill and Joe Ruffin, plus saxophonist Jimmy Wright.[1]

Gaddy ceased his recording activities around 1960. However, along with his long time friend Larry Dale, Gaddy remained a mainstay of the ongoing New York blues scene.[1]

In April 1988, Gaddy, Dale and Spruill reunited to play at the Tramps nightclub in New York.[3]

Bob Gaddy died of lung cancer in the Bronx, New York in July 1997, at the age of 73.[2][4]



  • "I (Believe You Got A Sidekick)" / "Bicycle Boogie" (1952) - Jackson Records - Bob Gaddy & His Alley Cats
  • "No Help Wanted" / "Little Girl's Boogie" (1953) - Jax Records - Bob Gaddy & His Alley Cats
  • "Evil Man Blues" / "Doctor Gaddy's Blues" (1954) - Dot Records - Doctor Gaddy & His Orchestra
  • "Blues Has Walked in My Room" / "Slow Down Baby" (1955) - Harlem Records - Doctor Gaddy & His Keys
  • "Operator" / "I Love My Baby" (1956) - Old Town Records - Doctor Gaddy & His Keys
  • "Paper Lady" / "Out Of My Name" (1957) - Old Town Records - Doctor Gaddy & His Keys
  • "Woe Woe Is Me" / "Rip and Run" (1958) - Old Town Records - Doctor Gaddy & His Keys
  • "Take My Advice" / "You Are the One" (1959) - Old Town Records
  • "Till The Day I Die"/ "I'll Go My Way" (1959) - Old Town Records[5]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Rip and Run (1986) - Ace
  • Bob Gaddy & Friends: Bicycle Boogie 1947 - 1960 (1987) - Moonshine
  • Harlem Blues Operator (1995) - Ace[3][5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Dahl, Bill. "Bob Gaddy". Allmusic. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1996 - 1997". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Jon Pareles (1988-04-29). "POP/JAZZ; New York Rockers Singing the Blues Loudly and Clearly - New York Times". New York City: Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  4. ^ "Mojo Blues Band | Blues Parade 2000 | CD Baby Music Store". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  5. ^ a b "Larry Dale discography". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  6. ^ "Bob Gaddy | Discography". AllMusic. 1924-02-04. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 

External links[edit]