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The Bob Moore Story

from the Bob Moore home page, written by Kittra and Bob 2000

If one copy of every record on which he performed were placed end to end along Nashville's Music Row, they would line both sidewalks of the one-mile stretch between the old Country Music Hall of Fame and Belmont College along 16th Avenue. The musician holding this distinction is bass player extraordinare Bob Moore, who, with over 17,000 recording sessions to his credit, may well have played on more recordings than any other musician in the world.  Bob's talents are heard on hundreds of million selling records that feature some of the greatest legends in music history.

LIFE MAGAZINE (special edition September 1, 1994) named him as the NUMBER ONE "COUNTRY BASSIST" OF ALL TIME. But Bob Moore has recorded "classical music" with Arthur Feidler and The Boston Pops, jazz with premier jazz guitarist Hank Garland and performed by invitation at the Newport Jazz Festival. He was top choice among many classic artists such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., Burl Ives, Andy Williams, Connie Francis and Julie Andrews. His distinctive pure sound has graced such timeless recordings as "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Paul Simon and "Rainy Night In Georgia" with Brook Benton. Bob Moore may well be the number one "ALL AROUND" Bassist of all time.

  The Cumberland River runs straight through the center of beautiful downtown. Nashville, also known as Music City, is the birthplace of Bob Moore. Born poor and raised on the East side of the river in the 1930's, the east Nashville boy showed a very early interest in music. His grandmother's Victrola shows the teeth marks at the top where Bob, although barely out of diapers, would pull himself up and hang over the edge while supported by his hands and teeth and watch the records go round and round. Saturday evenings were spent by the radio listening to the Grand Ole Opry. By the time he was 10 years old, Bob was doing guest spots singing and playing guitar on WSIX's "Goober and the Kentuckians" show.

During the 1940's there were many paratroopers in Nashville. On weekends, they would come by in droves from Fort Campbell KY to see the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium. So when Bob was nine years old he took a mind to build a shoe shine kit. He would walk up town and set up right across the street from the Ryman to shine paratroopers' boots for a nickel. Bob Moore kept an ever-watchful eye on the back stage door as if he knew what his future held. It was there, just outside the Opry House, that, at the age of twelve, Bob was shining the cowboy boots of Ernest Tubb's bass player, Jack Drake. Bob would worry Jack to death asking him every question he could think of about the Bass. Jack took special care in teaching young Bobby how to tune a bass and the proper way to pull a bass string, etc. Jack didn't know that he had set in motion the career of the greatest all around bassist that has ever lived.

Bobby Moore's professional career really began in 1947 when the tall, blond 15 year old hit the road playing guitar and stand-up bass backing the black-face tent show band Jamup and Honey. He was then asked to join Paul Howard's Western Swing Band which was loaded with top young Opry musicians and was considered to be the best band around. Road work filled the next few years as Little Jimmy Dickens original band, Cowboy Copas, Curly Fox and Texas Ruby, Flatt and Scruggs, Andy Griffith and Eddy Arnold created a constant demand for Moore's talents.

Bob Moore was proud when he accepted a prestige position working the Ozark Jubilee in Springfield MO with Red Foley in 1952. But being on the road wasn't easy even for the ambitious Mr. Moore. Working simultaneously with Mr. Foley in another state and with Marty Robbins in Nashville was an exhausting work commitment. (It was necessary that Marty Robbins and Red Foley carefully re-arranged their performance schedules in order to use Bob and other band members who worked for both artists)

"I remember commuting a thousand miles every week for two years when I was working with Red Foley in Springfield, and with Marty Robbins in Nashville," he recalls, "and that was before freeways when you had to drive two lane roads all the way."

The 1950's were magic years: during this time, Owen Bradley was a moving force in the Nashville record business. He was gearing up and building a studio. When Bradley joined Decca Records, Moore's big break came. Among musicians, he was first call and played on records with Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Chet Atkins, Rex Allen, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, Eddy Arnold, Bobby Darin, Floyd Tillman, Faron Young, Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizell, Connie Francis, Bobby Helms and many lesser known artists who are now considered, among the young audience, to be "rockabilly" treasures. These include artists such as Johnny Burnette, Ronnie Hawkins, Johnny Carroll, Johnny Horton, Ronnie Self, Warren Smith and many more.

His association with Bradley, whom Moore remembers as "one of the best record producers I ever worked with," helped to develop Moore's subtle style. "No matter how good a musician you are technically, what really matters boils down to your taste in playing. A lot of guys can play a hundred notes a second; some can play one note and it makes a lot better record. It comes with age, experience, being willing to learn". Besides good taste, Moore is known for his ability to "lead" a singer or other musicians through a song with his choice of notes by giving them a firm foundation they can depend on. His dependability, his rock solid beat, his impeccable timing, and his ability to work well with other musicians were the keys to his success in the recording studio. He served as session leader on most of his record dates.

During the early 1960s, Bob became known to insiders as Nashville's Best Kept Secret because of the creative input he was able to lend producers with whom he worked. Moore's musical knowledge and practical experience were the key to many big hits. Nashville's record business grew tremendously during this period. Many producers, musicians, and artists poured into Nashville. Bob Moore was busier than ever working with Elvis Presley, Roger Miller, Jim Reeves, the Statler Brothers, and Roy Orbison.

"In one year, I did almost three hundred record sessions just for Mercury Records alone-- four (three-hour) dates a day, six or often seven days a week," he recalls.

In 1961 Mr. Moore, who was a partner in Monument Records, found time to record "Mexico", an instrumental for the label, which was a huge hit in Germany and sold over two million records worldwide.

The late 60s and early 1970s brought pop, rock, folk, and easy listening acts to Nashville, creating even more demand for Moore's musicianship. The biggest records by some of the most musically diverse artists of that era were flavored with Moore's innovative ideas and strong musicianship. John Davidson, Gene Pitney, Bobby Vinton, Nana Mouskouri, Damita Jo, Burl Ives, Pete Fountain and Clyde McPhatter carried Moore's musical reputation to both coasts and eventually around the world.

If copies of every record on which he performed were placed end to end along Nashville's Music Row, they would line both side sides of the sidewalk from the Country Music Hall of Fame and past Belmont College. With over 17,000 recording sessions to his credit, Bob Moore may well have played on more recordings than any other musician in the world.

The emergence of Nashville as the world's largest recording center can largely be attributed to the city's extraordinary musicians, including Moore, who created, "The Nashville Sound", and attracted top artists and producers to Nashville. His credits from this include some of the biggest names in music: Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Dottie West, George Jones, Ray Price, Reba McEntire, John Denver, Mac Davis, Larry Gatlin, The Statlers, Bobby Goldsboro, Paul Anka, Debby Boone, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Don McLean, Tom Jones, Johnny Rodriguez, Cliff Richards, Hank Williams Jr. and many, many more.

Moore's career is highlighted by live performances as varied as the "riot" in Newport Jazz Festival in 1960, Elvis Presley's Hawaiian Benefit concert for the USS Arizona in 1961, going around the world on tour 1981 with Crystal Gayle, followed by two years on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis, two vastly different presidential inaugurals (Kennedy's in 1961 and Reagan's in 1985), and an earlier appearance at then President Jimmy Carter's reception for the Country Music Association in 1978.