Robert Ealey was a patient man, and he just made it through whatever happened, hanging onto his magic and mystery. He had a beautiful face, full of joy, even after a lifetime of having his ass kicked by the world. He was in that transcendent place where it didn’t matter. He wasn’t vain or proud, because he knew who he was and he knew he was loved and was somebody worth loving.
I’m a bass player. I probably didn’t play with Robert more than 20 times. When Tone Sommer would bring him over to Dallas he’d hire me to play with the band. Those were good shows – some large outdoor concerts and club gigs.
I once ghosted bass parts on a recording sessions Robert had done with Coco Montoya.
But the best time was a trip to Belgium to play at the BRBF in the late ‘90’s. We missed airline connections and barely made it to the concert site, then went on stage around midnight before 30,000 drunk, tired, muddy Belgians who had been camping there two or three days in wet weather listening to the big stars of blues – Buddy Guy, John Mayall, Allain Toussaint… a huge lineup.
The damnedest thing happened. We walked onto that huge stage under a million watts of lights and sound, and cranked up our typical skanky po-boy DFW shuffle, and the crowd went absolutely nuts. There are a million blues shuffle styles and the sea of people there had heard them all, but there’s nothing quite like that tired, resigned northeast Texas nightclub shuffle and it ignited those European blues fans and lifted them from their muddy butts and lit them like candles.
And then there was an eternal kind of a moment: we played Robert’s beautiful ballad If You Need Me. There was a long runway that led down from the high outdoor stage to a little circular platform right at the crowd’s chest height. Robert walked down there in his little blue suit, lit by a dozen intense criss-crossed spotlights, singing those unintelligible lyrics that were so full of soul and pain and heart that you always knew exactly what he meant even though you weren’t sure what he was saying.
The people reached out to him. He dropped down on one knee, singing that amazing song, and hundreds of hands reached and touched his coat, his pants, his outstretched hands. And the people were crying.
This went on for several minutes.
The song ended and the crowd roared like the ocean.
Something wonderful happened there, for everybody present, and we’ll never forget it.
Robert Ealey got done what he needed to do in this world, then and a thousand other times. He made it. He did it. He was real blues man. He was a real man. He was a star.
Sonny Collie Dallas, TX
I just lucked out being at a book store in Plano where Robert appeared with his guitarist. There were probably only 20 people there, but Robert and his guitarist played for us like we were 20,000. I remember him giving us his words of wisdom, about relationships, before playing a particular song. What a kind gentleman with a great understanding of the human experience. I still have the CD he signed for us.
Lance Armstrong Plano,Tx
Not sure who put this site together, but I found it at Jordon Mykowsky’s site. Robert meant alot to me way before I picked up a guitar or started writing. I was a waitress at JJ’s Blues Bar and everytime Robert came in i’d get his drink and we’d sit and talk and he’d always get me up to sing with him… Shortly before he died he’d been in and ask me if I’d like to sing on a project he was going to work on when he got back from Europe, (he was leaving in the next week or two) i never got the chance to sing on that project, but I have never forgotten Robert or whathis kind words and encouragement meant to me. Thank you for setting up a my space page for a great man and musician!
You are a huge influence on our music sensibilities. We LOVE YOU Robert!
What great memories of a great artist…
Vaya con Dios,
You and Me and “Barefoot” Miller tore up Europe back in the day! R.I.P.
I first met Robert Ealey in 1972 I remember jammin’ with him and the 5 Careless Lovers band at Mabels and The Blue Bird. Robert welcomed all who came to listen and play the Blues, he was one who brought people together. The roots of my Blues playing started with Robert Ealey . I’m playing today with The Serious Blues Band in Columbia Mo. and passing along a little of what picked up from Robert. He was a living legend, a man of his time, and a memory I will never forget…. John E. Coy
Thank you so much for the add….Tudy loved Robert and they played together many times
Robert was a Texas Blues Legend! My grandfather will be forever missed!…..Give granny a kiss in heaven for me!
Hi there Friends
Wow- what a talent 😉 Heaven must be rocking tonight. It is awesome that you are keeping his tunes “alive” & heard. Thank you for having me in Robert’s circle of friends. I hope you’ll be blessed in all you do. Don’t be a stranger, now. Keep shining!
I had played guitar behind Robert at several jams including the bluebird, but this night was at the keys lounge and bobby counts was hosting with Robert sitting in. I took one of my students along to check out the scene and introduced him to Robert. Asked Robert to give him some stage advice and his response was that no matter how or where the woman was rubbing up against you, concentrate on your playing and don’t step on Roberts vocals! Priceless! I want to thank everyone responsible for this page and keeping his memory and legacy alive. Robert gave me lots of encouragement and probably more stage time then I deserved at that point in my development. – Reid Rogers
two memories stick out in my head when i think of Father Robert…
one night at the sundown on 7th street, Robert, Chance and myself did ‘Hideaway’ at the jam he was hostin. Robert on drums, Chance on Bass and me on guitar.. wed never rehearsed it and it still sounded wonderful.
Also, the last time i saw him, was at the flyin saucer downtown, man yrs later. Chance and i wondered in, i think it was Thanksgiving, he motioned us from the stage to sit at the front table. All his kin were sitting there its seemed like, people id never met before, in between sets and after the show, i got to listen to everyone tell stories about growin up.. man…. damn….
It was an honor to know and work with Robert…He was one special person.
I was glad to hear the lost session tapes we did in the early 90’s had been found.
When I listen to “Texas Ave.” it brings back a lot of fond memories. R.I.P. my friend.
I just wanted everyone to know how much Robert Ealey means to me! I miss him and his legendary sound every single day. Robert was the REAL DEAL and a once in lifetime artist. He and Tone Sommer effected me at a very young age and changed me forever. He will remain with me in spirit for the rest of my life.
Im very proud to have known and played with Robert Ealey as I know he was a once in a lifetime type of Blues Man, Im also very proud to have Tone Sommer as a very good friend (like brothers) and mentor. Rememberin Mr. Robert Ealey and his love for REAL Blues music.
Robert Ealey! With out the “human harmonica” and mover and shaker at the Bluebird, Fort worth will never be the same! Robert, I’ll party with you in the after life. I look forward to turning the furnaces down and having a good blues jam.
Another Great Texas Blues Man!! I enjoyed playing keyboards for you on the few gigs I got to do. We all miss you!
I had the great honor of knowing and jamming with Robert for 30yrs or so and he was a consumate bluesman and a very nice man…At every stage of his career he was a gentleman and a good and loyal friend to those he knew…and he knew everyone in the buisness. His death changed the blues scene in Fort Worth forever…We miss you old friend ..rest in peace…..Mark you have done a great job on this site God bless you..Little Paul Sevy
As the producer of the “Lost Tapes” I remember those sessions with great fondness. I put James Anderson and Mike Fiala with Robert and his guitar player, Tone Sommer. What a rhythm section. We recorded the entire album in one day. Thanks to my friend Robert and all the great players on that session.We miss you Robert.
I can’t thank you enough for a legitimate Robert Ealey site. I performed with Robert for 6 years before his passing. I’m sure you knew Robert was illiterate and was ripped off by a particular band member, which stopped when I started playing with him. Robert would have passed a very wealthy man, but, unfortunately he didn’t. Ms. Helen, his widow, has since married J.B. Wynn, another great bluesman, late last year. I feel truly blessed to have shared the stage with Robert, U.P. Wilson, Curly “Barefoot” Miller, and Ray Sharpe, just to name the regulars of Robert’s annual Blues Festival in Ft. Worth. I’m currently working on my music here on my space which will be up and running soon. Again, thank you for your appreciation of Robert and what he did for this area.
I just wanted everyone to know how much Robert Ealey means to me! I miss him and his legendary sound every single day. Robert was the REAL DEAL and a once in lifetime artist. He and Tone Sommer effected me at a very young age and changed me forever. He will remain with me in spirit for the rest of my life. I’m very proud to have known and played with Robert Ealey as I know he was a once in a lifetime type of Blues Man, Im also very proud to have Tone Sommer as a very good friend (like brothers) and mentor. Rememberin Mr. Robert Ealey and his love for REAL Blues music.
I had the pleasure of jamming with Robert at the Peppermill in the late 1980’s he is a legend
Its a good thing you’re doing. The Blue Bird was the first club I ever went to after coming to the US… Wonder what Freddy Cisneros (Roberts old guitar player) is up to these days – Ross Bennett
Thanks for the work in keeping Robert’s blues alive. I spent 2 years with Robert Ealey and The Careless Lovers (we were down to 4 at this time) and they were my most formative blues years. Robert taught me so much and it wasn’t only on how to play da blues. Robert showed how one should live a life, happy and full of joy.
Robert was a great teacher to me. I learned so much from him. Primarily to get paid up front and NEVER assume that the band drinks for free. Never run a tab, always tip the waitress, never sleep with a woman that has more troubles than you. Never eat oysters raw and “keep your shoes shined boy”. Robert still owes me $30.00 from 1971. He named me “The Big Mick”. It was not a name of affection. But the world is a little less colorful without him.
Blessings on Him,
Hey! Thanks for paying homage to Robert. Everybody loved Robert.
A true Bluesman if there ever was one and he helped us all aspire and reach for great things. He was such a cool man,and always encouraging and uplifting towards me.(He even came out to see my all-girl punk band one night-it was a rough to listen to band at times…,but he smiled and laughed and said,”Yeah,do your thing.Whatever you need to do.Just do it.” Never a discouraging or critical word to me.Just acceptance. I’ve listened many times over to the last c.d. he did before he died,with “I’m Coming Home”(one of my personal favorites.) That song reaches deep into the listener and touches a place where longing and lonliness stay hidden for most people. Not to get all philosophical or anything,but “Thank you” for taking the lead and starting a page for a man who has inspired so many.
Man its great to see Roberts memory live on..even on myspace…you just became our # 1 friend..Roberts spirit lives on at the Bluebird…
Thank you for keeping the music of Robert Ealey alive!!
Rev Micah Weber
THANKS so much for being a friend and what you are doing to keep Robert Ealey’s music alive. We need more people like you in this world to help educate us on lost music & keep his spirit alive. With overwhelming Love & Respect