On a brisk October afternoon, I was walking with my wife in a typical neighborhood with houses lining the streets, when my cell phone rang. It was Bobs daughter, Melody. Bob had been sick and I instinctively knew why she was calling. While she was breaking the news of Bobs passing, I saw, what looked like, an animal running up the road towards us; a dog maybe. As it got closer I realized it was a young deer running right up the middle of the road. It passed us, then ran up the hill and out of sight. No one else was on the road. This happened at the exact time I was finding out my good friend and mentor, Bob Boyd, had left this world for the next. Coincidence? I prefer to think that this was Bobs way of telling me everything was going to be okay. He was a young buck again.
Although I was a member of the Bob Boyd Sounds for twenty-six years, my earliest recollection of Bob was when I would hang out at his store, Boyd Music Center. He let us pick on the guitars and even invited local bands, including my band Gibraltar, to play concerts from the roof of the store. If you ran into Bob and asked him how he was doing he would invariably reply, I never had it so good. He was definitely a positive influence on me.
I would sometimes see Bob at the church I attended regularly and one day the Minister informed me that the music director had quit with no notice. He said, Youre a musician. Have you got any ideas? I said, Sure. Lets get a jazz trio in here and swing the Hell out of this place. He must have been desperate because he agreed. I asked Bob to play piano and he suggested Randy McDonald to play drums. I played bass and led the singing. For six years we played every Sunday morning. The opening tune was usually something upbeat like Put on a Happy Face. We reworked the hymns with a bouncy 2 beat feel or a Latin Bossa. We played show tunes, pop tunes, standards, and wrote original music for the services. As long as it was positive, it was fair game.
During that time, we started playing casual gigs together and would sometimes add a fourth member. When Pat Henry played trumpet with us something clicked. The chemistry was right and this became the Bob Boyd Sounds. For 26 years we played dances, concerts, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. Once we even played for the grand opening of a parking garage.
The band would typically play one hundred or more dates every year. Were talking thousands of gigs. We played together so much it seemed almost telepathic at times. It was a thing of beauty. We almost never rehearsed but added new tunes all the time. Everyone in the band sang lead and while one was singing the rest of us would chime in and the next thing you know we had an arrangement. Later Bob began writing four-part vocal arrangements for us in the style of the Four Freshmen. When we played
and sang together it was a big sound. Bob often called us the Worlds Smallest Big Band.
But Bob was more than a bandmate. He was my mentor. Whenever I had a difficult problem I would ask him what he thought. He always gave sage advice. When I left the church gig, after six years, the Minister offered him the music director position but he turned it down. I told him it was alright with me if he took the job but he said. Always remember who brung you to the dance. Bob was a loyal friend. He had his share of flaws, but was able to slay his dragons and live an exemplary life. In fact, everyones life was made better because of the life Bob lived.
(Bob G Boyd May 26, 1936 - October 8, 2020)
Note from the website manager: As some may know the Bob Boyd Sounds website no longer exists so for archival purposes and as a Tribute to Bob I've relocated the website. For various reasons some of the links are no longer active but all the photos are there as is most everything else. So if you want to take a stroll down memory lane just click here.