Album: The Heartbroken Man (1990) with the Playboys
Songs on album
- How Long This Must Go On
- Don’t Cry No More
- Ain’t Going To Worry About Tomorrow
- Tell Me What I’ve Done/My Last Affair
- Heartbroken Man
- Blind Man/I Pity The Fool
- Rocking Daddy
- Tin Pan Alley
- Baby, Scratch My Back
- Louise Louise Blues
- No Place To Go
Also on the following CD’s
Various Artists / Deep Blues
Various Artists / Mean Old World 4 The Blues 1940-1994
By Kathleen Sui (SHS)
Roosevelt ‘Booba” Barnes was born in September 25, 1936, Longwood, Mississippi, about eighteen miles outside of Greenville. His family worked in the local cotton fields and raised hogs. Young Roosevelt lost a portion of one finger when a hog bit him while he and his father attempted to ring the animal’s nose. He learned to play music on a toy harmonica when he was eight, sitting in with many of the local blues musicians around Greenville, Mississippi, in the 50s. His nickname came from a brother who said that Roosevelt was worse than a booby trap. Roosevelt just changed the spelling. He started earning money by playing juke joints when he was sixteen. His brother Leroy got him started by sending him harmonicas. At the age of seventeen, Barnes decided to seek his fortune as a blues musician and became a regular performer in the clubs on Greenville’s famed Nelson Street.
Booba formed his own band called the Swinging Gold Coasters in 1956 and started playing guitar in 1960. In his early years, he attempted to imitate Sonny Boy Williamson’s style, but the influence of his idol Howlin’ Wolf would stay with him all of his life. Barnes truly considered Howlin’ Wolf to be the best. In fact, playing with Howlin’ Wolf was one of his favorite memories. Howlin’ Wolf returned the compliment by calling Barnes “Little Wolf.” In 1958, Barnes moved to St. Louis where his brother was playing for the Cardinals. In 1964 Barnes moved to Chicago, Illinois, and stayed there until 1971 when he returned to Greenville. In 1973, he traveled to Chicago to record as a backup musician with the Jones Brothers. He cares more for the enjoyment of his audience than his own personal gain. He says that he has a desire to give his all with every performance to ensure that any witness to his show goes away with a feeling that they have received their money’s worth and that the individual performer has given them their all.
The Heartbroken Man was recorded by O’Neal, one of the founders of Living Blues magazine and founder and owner of Rooster Blues, the company for which Barnes cut his only single and record.It was released in 1990. After it was released, it was well received by fans and critics alike. Robert Palmer began filming his documentary Deep Blues and captured Barnes and The Playboys live in The Playboy Club. Palmer describes Booba in his liner notes to “Deep Blues” this way: “To call him a flamboyant showman would be an understatement. He twists, he turns, he drops to his knees, he plays one-handed, and he picks more guitar with his teeth and tongue than many more celebrated Bluesmen who use their fingers.”
In 1995, Booba Barnes was diagnosed with severe lung cancer and the disease progressed quickly. But he kept touring almost until the end. He played the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in February of 1996. Barnes died of lung cancer April 8, (some sources say April 2) 1996,in a nursing home in Chicago at the age of 59.
- Born in September 25, 1936, in Longwood, Mississippi
- Started playing music in 1944.
- Formed his first band in 1956.
- Started playing guitar in 1960.
- Moved to Chicago in 1964.
- Got his won club called the Playboy Club.
- Released his album: The Heartbroken Man in 1990.
- Diagnosed with Lung Cancer.
- Died April 8, 1996.
- Larkin, Colin. The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Connecticut: Guinness Publishing, 1993. (290).