Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.


• Updates on the Do-Ra-Me discography.
• New info on the Sylvia Mobley discography.
• Updated my post on the Gene Wester acetate.

Search This Blog


Monday, August 16, 2010

Bobby Wayne story

"Swing Train Twist"

Bobby Wayne's "Swing Train Twist" is a wild, primitive and action-packed rock and roll record. However, it achieved fame to a much lesser extent then similar songs would do in collector circles. Wayne is not to be confused with all the other singers of the same name, including Bobby Wayne who cut a slew of singles for California and Washington based labels. Virtually nothing is known about Wayne, only snippets of info are available.

"Swing Train Twist" was backed by "Twistin' Swing Train", presumably similar to the A side. The record was issued on Bonita Records (Bonita 45-1313) as by "Bobby Wayne and the Swing Trainers", a band that remains in obscurity. It was the year 1962 and rockabilly was dead - even rock'n'roll was vanishing. But Wayne didn't care, his "Swing Train Twist" is a wild rock'n'roll outing with a wild guitar break, a sax solo and outstanding vocals by Wayne. The rhythm section is working well, creating a stomping sound imitating a train very good. At the beginning of the song, Wayne is shouting several West Virginia cities like a conductor, including Charleston, WV.

According to a short Billboard mention in the "Country Music Corner" segment from 1964, the Bonita label just signed C&W artist Bill McDowell, who was the organizer of the "Coonskin Folk Music Festival" in Charleston and a former Rena recording artist. Probably Bonita Records was based in West Virginia, likely in Charleston. No other singles are known to be issued on the label but it seems that the company was active at least from 1962 to 1964.

Advertising of Wayne's new record and a "Swing Train live show" (Charleston Daily Mail, April 6, 1962)
Bobby Wayne himself was a popular DJ on several stations. He had his own rock & roll show on WCAW in Charleston called "Bobby Wayne's Swing Train". Wayne apperently was keen on trains, since he used the train theme on his shows, his band, his songs. By August 1962, he had switched to radio station WGKV. In the years of 1964 and 1965, Wayne was at WSAI in Cincinnati, Ohio, and his "Swing Train" show was with him. 1966 saw him at KDWB in Minneapolis, he then left and returned to Cincinnati in 1968 and found work at WUBE until 1969. Also there, he presented his "Swing Train" show which proved to be very popular on both WSAI and WUBE. Wayne also spun records on WWHY in Huntington, West Virginia, KCBQ in San Diego in 1967-1968, and from 1969 to 1972 as "The Wizard" or Bob "The Wizard" Wayne in New York City on WCBS-FM, WYNY, and WHN.
Unfortunately, I have no info about his career after 1972. Bobby Wayne died in September 1990.

Bobby Wayne at WSAI, ca. 1964-1965. Photo comes from cincinnatinews.net.
Bobby Wayne at WCBS-FM, ca. 1970. Photo comes from NY Radio Archive.
Sources: RCS, Billboard issue July 18, 1964, TallPaulInKY, Reelradio, History of WCAV/WVAF


Country Music said...

Thanks a lot for posting. This is something useful to me and my friends in the school newsletter and this kind of news helps a lot in the production. I also need a lot of clips as references.

jean-pierre said...

i believe he make some recording in the 80's or 90's who were issued on a british cd.

Mellow said...

that was possibly the other Bobby Wayne of "Sally Ann" fame you are referring to jean-pierre. He recorded an album in 1981 on Piccadilly entitled "Outlaw" (issued in the UK) and one for Wild Fire in 1996 called "Go Rockabilly".