Bobbie”Spider”Webb-The Life of a
The legendary Bobbie”Spider”Webb,
currently retired, from the regular 9-5 working field, has dedicated his full attention on his music. He is still mesmerizing
his audience with his style of play all over the world! It’s truly amazing to be able to sit and talk with a Man who
is both full of life and that has and continues to do what he does best and that’s play the blues. He’s a mixture
of history, a pure God giving talent with a melodic presence that ensures his place as a great legend in the history books!
Bobbie has been playing music for over 45 years and it’s true about the old saying, “Things only gets better with
time”! I’ve had the honor of hearing him play at several events and he’s has left me speechless and his
music touched my soul!
Bobbie took me back in time to the very beginning
when the music all started. Born in Texas, he relocated to San Francisco
with his grandmother at the age of 5. Bobbie’s mother passed when he was young and his father worked within the train
industry and that kept him gone a lot, so his grandmother stepped in to raise him and his siblings!
The Fillmore area now recognized as the Western
Addition or Fillmore Jazz Preservation District has changed drastically since he was a boy. In fact he says what he finds
interesting is that they would even consider the Fillmore area to be a Jazz district when there were only a few clubs in the
area at that time back in the day. There were not many places that really had live entertainment but there was more jazz and
music being played along the Divisadero St. strip
than the Fillmore. Bobbie was given a special honor presented by The San Francisco Mayors Redevelopment Office. His name was
also added with the many entertainers that have performed in the Jazz Preservation district and given his own star on the
Walk of Fame on Fillmore St. due to his many achievements
as a musician in the Fillmore in the hay days! I enjoyed hearing about the Fillmore because I have seen the changes that have
occurred over the last 3 decades!
So I asked him what inspired him to play music.
When he was a young boy his grandmother worked for Mr. Duffie the warden at San Quentin’s prison. Warden Duffie took
an interest in her family and always asked about Bobbie and how his music was coming along? His grandmother told him that
he wants to play the saxophone but he didn’t have a horn. At that time Bobbie was attending Marina Junior High school where he was playing
in their band and using their instruments. He recalled one day as his grandmother went to work there was a letter waiting
there for her for him. The letter stated that he was to go to Sherman and Clay and pick out whatever saxophone he wanted and
he did so and the rest was history from there. So thanks to Warden Duffie, he was able to get his first horn, a silver tenor
saxophone and he was able to continue his craft in which he has to this very day!
We talked about the clubs back in the day and
what it was like. He told me how he used to sell the Sun Reporter Paper and how he would go into these clubs and at the end
of the evening he would end up at Wesley Johnson’s Texas Playhouse or known as the Flamingo. Wesley Johnson would pick
him up and take him to the end of the bar and tell the folks this was his boy from Texas
support him and buy a paper and how he would sell out by the end of the evening! Places like The Fillmore Auditorium, The
Blue Mirror, Booker T. Washington Hotel, Bop City
and the New Orleans’s Swing Club among other places
were the happening spots! Older, he began playing his music in night clubs. He played with Bobby Freeman at the Condor Club
in San Francisco on Broadway for 10 years! Since then he has
played with many legends such as Albert King, Mark Naftalin, Etta James, Eddie”Clean head” Vincent, John Lee Hooker,
John Lee Hooker, JR, E.C. Scott, Jimmy McCracklin and recently sat in with the legendary Bobby Blue Bland! We can’t
forget about OG Fillmore Slim, he sang with Bobbie’s band for 10 years before he made a name for himself and went on
to doing big things too. One of his memorable performances was when he opened up for the group The Grateful Dead. There have
been so many other greats he has played with but these are a few names that popped into his mind at that time!
I asked him what he thought about the music today.
His thoughts were music has come a very long way! His concerns were that the younger generation is learning more about how
to do beats but not the true essence of music and its history! He did give the younger generation credit, he feels that they
are smarter about their publishing and copyrights something that the older generation failed to do and that’s the reason
so many of the older generation in music is broke! He really emphasized that publishing and copyrights are very important!
Bobbie has continued over the years to the present
to keeping the Blues alive! If that wasn’t enough he founded with his daughter a 501 c (3) non profit organization called
The Blues and R & B Music Foundation, Inc. His organization produced the now landmark of the Jazz Preservation District
with a large mural project entitled the Blues Evolution Part 1 and they’re currently getting ready to work on the second
and final phase. This incredible mural project was painted by Santi Huckabi. To add to his accomplishments he continues to
assist up and coming artist as well as keeps a very rich musical culture alive through a “FREE” festival, The
California Blues Festival that he has produced for the past 13 years annually every Memorial Day in Golden Gates Band Shell
Area. Giving back to the community is very important to Bobbie and he is very active in community projects. He sits on various
boards and also hosts one of the most popular radio shows on KPOO 89.5 FM in San
Francisco. He is very proud of his show and all of the support he receives from other artist, the public
and fans! You can catch his show every Tuesday morning between 9am-12noon! It’s certainly a show you don’t want
to miss. He also uses this opportunity to play some of the best in blues that folks have not heard, forgotten or simply love!
I just want to thank the Legendary Bobbie”Spider”Webb
for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us. It’s always an honor to speak with those who play a vital
part in our music history and he’s certainly one who is still doing it big! We look forward to the many wonderful things
he will continue to do and he’s always welcomed back to rap with us anytime. His first CD entitled Classic Gems is available
through CD Baby or you can purchase it directly from him! His sophomore CD is on the way and folks are already ready to purchase
it! Keep a watch out for that and you can always go and hear him and his band, the Bobbie”Spider”Webb and the
smooth blues band in the bay area. Continued Success! Lovii