During the 1960s, he performed with various organists including Jimmy Smith and Don Patterson, with whom he recorded in 1978. In the 1980s, he toured with Sonny Stitt. He continued to play in his home town and recorded his album "You Leave Me Breathless!" in 1995.
In an article for Patch, Kim Tucker writes... "Barnes has toured the world performing the music he loves, jazz in places like St. Croix US Virgin Islands, to Europe and back home to Philly. From the “Chitlin Circuit” to the infamous New Jersey clubs: Dreamland, Cotton Club, Loretta's High Hat, Club Harlem. Barnes has taken the stage at Philly's Blue Note, Just Jazz, Red Carpet, The Showboat and Pep's too."
As a leader
- Been Here All Along – Bootsie Barnes Quartet (Way After Midnight, 1984)
- You Leave Me Breathless – Bootsie Barnes Quartet (French Riviera, 2001)
- Hello - Bootsie Barnes Quartet (French Riviera, 2003)
- Boppin' Round the Center – Bootsie Barnes Quintet (Harvest, 2004)
- The More I See You – Bootsie Barnes & Larry McKenna (Cellar Live, 2018)
As a sideman
- Looking Up - Cullen Knight (Tree Top, 1978)
- Why Not... - Don Patterson (Muse, 1978)
- Here to Create Music - Gamble/Huff (Philadelphia International, 1980)
- The Saxophone Shop - The Odean Pope Saxophone Choir (Soul Note, 1985)
- John Swana Quintet - Introducing John Swana (Criss Cross, 1991)
- Epitome - Odean Pope Saxophone Choir (Soul Note, 1993)
- Comin’ Home - Poppa John DeFrancesco (Muse, 1994)
- All in the Family - Poppa John & Joey DeFrancesco (Muse, 1998)
- Live at Ortlieb's Jazzhaus - Various Artists (Encounter, 2000)
- Hip Cake Walk - Poppa John & Joey DeFrancesco (HighNote, 2001)
- Philly Gumbo - John Swana (Criss Cross, 2001)
- Open the Gates - Kenny Gates (Independent, 2003)
- To Joe With Love - Juanita Holliday (Rhombus, 2003)
- Shelf-Life - Uri Caine (Winter & Winter, 2005)
- Philly Gumbo, Vol.2 - John Swana and The Philadelphians (Criss Cross, 2005)
- I Got Up! - Chad Carter (Jkbj, 2009)
- Henderson, Alex. "Robert "Bootsie" Barnes: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
- "Why Not". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
- Henderson, Alex. "You Leave Me Breathless: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
- Jazz in the Park with saxophonist, Bootsie Barnes. Article by Kim Tucker. Retrieved 2019-6-2
- "Bootsie Barnes, legendary Philadelphia Jazz saxophonist, dies at 82". PhillyTrib.com. April 22, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "Bootsie Barnes, Philadelphia tenor sax great, has died of coronavirus at 82". inquirer.com. April 23, 2020. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
- Robert "Bootsie" Barnes Quartet/Robert "Bootsie" Barnes Sextet: You Leave Me Breathless!/Hello. Review by Dave Nathan, All About Jazz - July 1, 2001. Retrieved 2019-6-2
- Bootsie Barnes & Larry Mckenna: The More I See You. Review by Jack Bowers, All About Jazz - November 29, 2018. Retrieved 2019-6-2