There’s a thread that weaves its way from Marianna, Florida to Dothan, Alabama, to Panama City Beach and eventually lands on stage with the Beatles in Great Britain. The men weaving this thread were Bobby Goldsboro and Buddy Buie. Both, Buddy and Bobby, were born in Marianna, Florida and both moved with their families to Dothan when they were youngsters.
In 1959, Bobby Goldsboro had just graduated from Dothan High School, where he and some classmates had formed a very talented musical ensemble that Bobby called the ‘Webs’. Goldsboro’s bandmates were guitarist John Rainey Adkins, bassist Amos Tindell and drummer Dave Robinson. At the same time Buddy Buie had developed a strong interest in talent management, concert promotions and songwriting. Bobby and his fellow Webs agreed to partner with Buie as their manager. Buie promptly got the Webs booked as top act at the Old Dutch Tavern on Panama City Beach.
During summer breaks, the Webs would pack their equipment and move to Panama City Beach. It was common practice, at the time, for fledgling pop combos in the tri-states region to try to land a gig at one of the clubs on the beach. The exposure gained on the beach would place them in high demand at frat parties and local gigs from Tuscaloosa to Milledgeville. By headlining at the Old Dutch, the Webs secured the most desirable venue on PCB.
At the Old Dutch, the Webs were expected to play afternoon matinees lasting several hours, before they were relieved by second-tier bands. Their evening set started before sundown and they played into the wee hours of the morning. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, seven days a week, they stirred a sweaty crowd of dancers that were literally elbow to elbow. This daily recital honed their musical craft, from a garage band with promise, to a highly polished pop quartet, with chops the equal of any headliner group of the day.
Around this time, the Webs had a regional hit with the novelty song, ‘Lost’ (Cricket in My Ear), where Bobby first demonstrated his exceptional talent for mimicking a cricket. The next step up the ladder of success was waiting back in Dothan, Alabama.
In the early 60’s very few acts could compare to Elvis Presley. If there was a close runner-up, it was Roy Orbison. Roy had huge hits with ‘Only the Lonely’ and ‘Crying’ and was selling out the largest venues in the country. Buddy Buie was eager to improve the caliber of regional entertainment and signed Roy Orbison to play Dothan, Alabama and Panama City, Florida, Roy Orbison was first scheduled to appear at the Houston County Farm Center in Dothan, Alabama. The Webs were on slate as the opening act. Buie encouraged the Webs to learn Orbison’s hits perfectly and play them at rehearsal. After the show, Roy was very complimentary of the Webs and was impressed by their talent. Bobby Goldsboro, Roy Orbison and Buddy Buie established a rapport and friendship right away. Months later, this chance meeting proved to be a path to prominence, when Roy called Buddy to say he had fired his band and would the Webs like to go on tour with him. Of course, they agreed and they changed the band’s name from the Webs to the ‘Candy Men’, after one of Roy’s hit songs, ‘Candy Man’.
Roy Orbison with the Candy Men were gaining popularity worldwide. They were adored in Great Britain. In 1963, their fame in the UK led to an invitation to tour England with a new band called the Beatles. The promoters of the tour had originally intended for Roy and the Candy Men to be the headlining act. However, the rapidly growing popularity of the Beatles caused them to change their minds and list both bands as co-headliners, with the Beatles closing the show. Roy Orbison, Bobby Goldsboro and the Candy Men did multiple encores before the audience allowed the Beatles to come on stage. Bobby wound up teaching Paul McCartney how to make his famous ‘cricket’ sound.
Bobby Goldsboro left the Candy Men to go out on his highly successful solo career. He recorded many popular hits and had his songs covered by the top acts of the day. Bobby even had his own variety show on a major TV network. Today, Bobby Goldsboro is known as well for his oil paintings as he is for his music. He is a highly accomplished artist and his paintings are displayed in very prestigious art galleries…and, he can still make the ‘cricket’ sound.
Buddy Buie’s contribution to Rock and Roll cannot be exaggerated. Buddy continued to be a dominate force in the recording industry. Buie was a prolific songwriter, with 340 songs registered in the BMI catalog. His first songwriting success came in 1964, when Tommy Roe took “Party Girl” into the Billboard top 100. In 1967, he began to collaborate with the group, ‘Classics IV’, to produce a string of top 40 hits. While success with the Classics IV placed Buie on the national stage. It was his association the ‘Atlanta Rhythm Section’, and ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd’, and the emergence of Southern Rock from his ‘Studio One’ recording facility, that best defines Buddy’s impact on modern music. Under Buie’s direction, ARS gained broad appeal in the late 1970s and posted several hits. In 1975, ARS played a command performance at the Governor’s Mansion for Georgia Governor, Jimmy Carter. Governor Carter invited ARS and Buddy to provide entertainment on the occasion of his son’s birthday party. Buddy was inducted into the Alabama and Georgia, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Buddy Buie died in a hospital in Dothan, Alabama, after suffering a heart attack, in 2015. Read more, at my friend, Robert Register’s blog.