Bobby Marchan (born Oscar James Gibson, April 30, 1930 in Youngstown Ohio – December 5, 1999) was a well-respected American rhythm and blues bandleader, MC, singer-performer, recording artist, and female impersonator.
He initially began performing in New Orleans nightclubs, specifically the Dew Drop Inn and the Club Tijuana in the mid-1950s. Marchan also toured with the band of Huey "Piano" Smith, sometimes performing as lead singer / bandleader and substituting vocally for Huey Smith (who reputedly often would stay in New Orleans to write and record while his namesake band "Huey Smith and the Clowns" played clubs and toured on the road). The touring band included James Booker on piano.
One of Marchan's vocal performances with Huey Smith and the Clowns can be heard on the New Orleans R&B recording, "Don't You Just Know It", which was released in 1958. Marchan also had a solo #1 hit on the national R&B charts in 1960 with the tune "There is Something on your Mind," a cover of a song performed by Big Jay McNeely. Marchan recorded for a handful of small soul labels such as Fire Records, Volt, Dial, Cameo, and Gamble as well as Ace Records, which had released the Clowns' records.
Marchan regularly performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. In the 1990s his company Manicure Productions was involved in hip hop music booking and promotion including Take Fo' Records bounce music artist DJ Jubilee. He was involved with the formation of Cash Money Records.
Notable chart successes
(with Huey (Piano) Smith and The Clowns)
- "Rocking Pneumonia and The Boogie Woogle Flu" (Ace 530) 1957 (#5 R&B/#52 Pop)
- "Don't You Just Just Know It" (Ace 545) 1958 (#4 R&B/#9 Pop)
(as Bobby Marchan)
- "There's Something On Your Mind" (Fire 1022) 1960 (#1 R&B/#31 Pop)
- "I've Got A Thing Going On" (Dial 3022) 1964 (#116 Pop)
- "Shake Your Tambourine" (Cameo 429) 1966 (#14 R&B)
- Hannusch, Jeff (1985), I Hear You Knockin': The Sound of New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, Swallow Publications, Inc., ISBN 0-9614245-0-8
- Hannusch, Jeff (1999), "Bobby Marchan, 69, noted N.O. R&B artist", Times-Picayune, retrieved 2009-11-27
- Leigh, Spencer (1999-12-18), "Obituary: Bobby Marchan", The Independent, retrieved 2009-11-27
- Strauss, Neil (2000-05-28), "A Trendsetter On Rap's Fringe", New York Times, retrieved 2009-11-27