Bobby Runnel’s Faux Pas

Given Bobby Runnel’s career as a lounge act during the mid-late ’60s, you’d think it unlikely that one of his songs could become something of a classic of mid-60s rock. His original song “True Love – Heartaches” has been a favorite of mine since hearing it on Teenage Shutdown vol. 11. He certainly must have believed in the song, as he recorded it three times in as many years.

Bobby Runnel came from eastern Arkansas, just across the river from Memphis, where he picked up some of the early rock ‘n roll styles of the ’50s. He moved to Miami and started the Faux Pas trio, touring the east coast and mid-west.

In Nashville he recorded “True Love – Heartaches – False Love” as the b-side of his first single, released in September 1965 on the Buccaneer label from Jackson, Mississippi. The A-side is what I’ve heard is a soul ballad featuring flute, “If Your So Mart”. The artist is listed as Bob Runnel’s Faux Pas III with John Sherwood and Ivano Comelli (sp? – Ivann Comelli?). He had a second 45 on Buccaneer (509) “For My Baby” / “Where’s Willie Walker” that I haven’t heard.

I recently heard a clip of this first version of “True Love – Heartaches – False Love” and it’s pretty cool, slower with piano as prominent as the guitar and good drumming. If anyone has sound transfers or label scans please email me.

In 1966 the band found long-term work in northern Ohio, based mainly in Akron at Ninos’ restaurant and lounge. The clientele was older and Runnel’s repertoire ranged to all kinds of pop styles from folk to mainstream pop. The Faux Pas trio changed personnel from time to time, but always with Runnel playing lead guitar and singing. The two records I’ve heard also feature piano, so at least in the studio they were more than a trio.

Runnel cut “True Love – Heartaches – False Love” for a second time at Cleveland Recording (not in Little Rock as noted elsewhere) in 1966. On this release the band is listed as simply the Faux Pas III. This time it was the b-side of “Baby What You Gonna Do”, a good New Orleans-type r&b.

Songwriting credits on both sides are listed as Runnel, Comelli and Lott. Also on Suburban is another single featuring the Faux Pas backing a female singer, but I haven’t heard (or seen) this.

In January 1968 he released the third and best version of “True Love – Heartaches”, recorded at Akron Recording and released on his own Faux Pas label (a Rite pressing: 21131/21132). The A-side this time was a cover of “Black Cloud”, a hit for Me and Dem Guys on Palmer from late 1966. It’s a song I’m not very fond of but the Faux Pas do a great job, especially the drummer who lays down a beat like a locomotive. Whatever the limitations of their lounge act, this band could rock when it wanted to.

On this 45 the band is credited as Bobby Rúnnel’s Faux Pas, with an accent over the “u” in Rúnnel. Rúnnel is also listed as sole song writer on “True Love – Heartaches”, as well as producer.

In 1969 they released a pop 45 as the Faux Pas that I haven’t heard, and also during the late ’60s Runnel had two LPs featuring his typical lounge repertoire and probably sold as souvenirs of his club act. Bobby Runnel, A Winning Streak Of One on the Hawk label features a photo of Bobby with an acoustic guitar, and lists some of the songs: “Big Boss Man”, “A Place in the Sun” and “Malaguena” along with original jokes!

In the early ’70s he broke up the Faux Pas and did well as a songwriter in Nashville.

All info cribbed from Buckeye Beat, with some 45 release info from Mop Top Mike.

22 thoughts on “Bobby Runnel’s Faux Pas”

  1. I saw a statement on another website that when the Desperados disbanded in the early 1980s, Bobby moved to Nashville and “had some success as a songwriter there” but I have not been able to find any songwriting credits of songs he may have written or participated in writing. I did find a Billboard magazine clipping from 1966 announcing that he had signed an exclusive songwriting contract with Moss Rose Records which was started by Hubert Long, the well known talent agent for George Jones, Mel Tillis and Tammy Wynette among others. Mr. Long was inducted posthumously into the CMA Hall of Fame in 1978- 6 years after his death. Any information on Bobby’s songwriting credits is greatly appreciated. Blessings!

    1. Dale Hawkins North Little Rock may be able to answer some of this. R’unnel and Dale were great friends and he recorded at The Hawks Nest. Yes it’s Susie Q’s master I’m referring to. Really enjoyed my time spent with them

  2. 1976 Bobby built the Band Desperado’s, later to become Desperado’s and Company. I was Scratch the drummer and Bobby’s brother as well. We recorded the first Desperdao album at Studio in the County.
    We mostly sold these at clubs and such performances we attended to.
    We slowly develpoed the band into a great work of art.
    We did a lot of shows with George Jones at Alex Broussards Ranch in Louisiana and smoked Bocephusc “Hank Williams Junior in Sunset Louisiana.
    Desperado’s continued strong until 1983 and I left the band to raise my family. Desperado’s continued for another 2 years attempting to use some ladies as vocal compliments and in time the band just dissolved away for lack of ability to maintain the road scene.
    It’s really hard to manage your own band and keep everything flowing with the new sounds of disco that took some portions of major clubs away and it was just one of those things that happens to a band that slowly becomes more involved in clubs and stopped writing enough songs to stay special.
    I miss the Desperado’s and all the good and bad times we had.
    Bobby passed away just a few years back.

    1. Troy Wilson were cousins, my grandpa was Marion Wilson, so sorry to hear about Bobby’s passing

  3. bobby was the true music outlaw. fearless, a great entertainer, philosopher and all around damn good guy. my most memorable character to say the least, i miss him. “wonder if i had to do to over”

      1. DEE, GRIZZLEY DIED LAST YEAR FROM CANCER AND SO DID RABBIT. I AN RONNIE THOMPSON ONLY ONES LEFT ALIVE.
        SCRATCH….

  4. I was a kid in either 1969 or 1970 when my family made its first trip to Destin, Florida. My dad had sold his farm near Clarksdale and we had moved to Jackson MS where Dad had gotten into the insurance business. Bobby was playing at the resort where we stayed- I think it was called the Blue Gulf Resort. My dad being from the Mississippi Delta and Bobby being from the Arkansas Delta, them both loving to drink, chase women and raise hell, they hit it off the first night we got there. Next thing I know, Bobby is taking us fishing in his ski boat out in the Gulf the next day! We are trolling for spanish and king mackeral, catch a few and they cook them for our dinner at the resort that night. I have never forgotten Bobby, his big ol smile, his kindness or his music. (Dad had one of his records- Malaguena was my favorite tune). I am sorry to hear Bobby has passed but it sounds like he had a good life. Dad was not as fortunate. He had never gotten farming out of his system and drank to fill that void. His drinking left him broke when lung cancer took his life at age 67 in 1999 but I loved him until the day he died and still do. I danced with that devil myself until 1989 when I put it down and have not had a drink since. I am married, live just north of Jackson MS and go to Destin every chance I get. Thanks for your posts and this website- yall have made my day! RIP Bobby (and Pops).

  5. You hit it right on the head. That was the club where he played for a while. I remember going there as a really you kid and we would go out into the really blue waters off Destin and catch Bull Nose Dolphin and eat like kings. The gulf isn’t blue like it was back in those days.
    Sorry both your day and my brother are now gone….

  6. Mike my brother from the band. Where are you at these days. Please send an email if you get back here. Grizzly as we called him is Mike Duhon and a great bass player and backup singer. One of the real Desperado’s when we were kicking the mucis out.
    The Ole Scratch

  7. Trying to remember from the late 60s in Akron who was the faux pas piano player. Believe guys name was buddy? Anyone remember and know about him. Please email me back

  8. Troy, I am very sorry to hear about Bobby’s passing. My husband and I lived next to him in Lafayette. We enjoyed going out to hear the band. Great memories of the band playing at some festival in Milton (okay, some are hazy!) Still have the LP, Well…It’s About Damn Time!

  9. Hi, just wanted to add my two cents 🙂
    The Faux Pas band that I knew was from the 70s based out of Stow, Ohio. My father, Key Traylor was their sax player, and Craig Kerr was their amazing keyboard player, along with Ivano (sp) and Alton Lott (Alott) and BB Boone … I remember BB staying at our house once with his little dog 🙂 I was just a little girl, but I will never forget going on tour and staying in Ocean City, MD, and Hagerstown… among other cities. Too bad there isn’t more accurate information on the web about this awesome band. I loved their version of Mustang Sally, and of course, Harlem Nocturne, with my dad’s sax wailing. Best wishes to all!

  10. I believe the keyboard player you mention of the Faux Pas was named Buddy Rogers. Mr. Rogers passed away not long ago, I hear. Peace to all…

  11. This must be the same band! In the 1970’s, when I was 25-26, I used to go to the Venice Nightclub in Hagerstown Md. every time the Faux Pas played. I had such a crush on one of the guys, I think his name was Evanno (sp). I remember them being from Ohio, in fact, I think I still have one of their publicity shots.

    1. Nicely done site.
      I am a record dealer and musicologist in NJ.
      I recently bought a batch of vinyl and found Bobbys 45 that has sold for up to $150.
      So imagine my surprise when the live at Ninos LP was also in there.
      I see it mentioned in this thread but see none for sale anywhere, nor in my index sites like popsike or discogs as ever being sold in the last 15 years. Is it that rare?

  12. Just found this site, so glad I did. Troy, I am so sorry to hear of Bobby’s passing. We kept in-touch with each other for several years, and then somewhere down the line our calls got fewer and finally stopped. I have always wondered how you guys were doing and if Bobby was still jammin’ gigs. I still have the autographed album ( Well….Its About Damn Time”) he sent me with a note saying “I’d be a brother forever”. He wrote across the album cover “You took a five hundred pound weight off my shoulders and I’ll never forget it”. It’s been so long ago, you may not remember me. When you guys were returning from a gig somewhere out west and your vehicle broke down at Sallisaw, Oklahoma back in the early 1980s, I was the guy that hooked onto your equipment trailer in the middle of the night and took all of you on to the townhouse in Little Rock. I think I remember you being there, another guy, and Bobby and a lady (named Jan or?) I drove a 1 ton white Chevy box van. Give me a shout if it sounds familiar. Bless you and yours and bless Bobby’s memory and all those who have gone on before.

  13. In January 1968, Bobby formed “another” Faux Pas, which began at the Pink Pussycat (Akron). We worked there for several months, getting the band “tight,” and then did some minimal touring, (Tenn., NV., etc.) We also worked at Red’s (Akron), The Other Place (N. Canton). The band consisted of Dennis Johnston, Garney Hicks, Don Ticknor, Keith Brown (later replaced by Dick Devine) and myself. We stayed together for exactly 1 year. We all learned about stage presence and comedic timing from Bobby – who was a pretty great entertainer. In a different era, he could have been a big star. We stayed in touch until he died.

  14. Recently found SUBURBAN 45 #2030 by Janet Stewart and the label says accomp. by The Faux Pas III. Sides are “Brand New Love” b/w “What Can I Do”. The record must be rare, there’s nothing on google. Anybody have info?

  15. WELL OLE GRIZZLE HAS GONE HOME TO THE BIG BANDSTAND IN THE SKY. HE IS MISSED A LOT AS WELL. ALLEN THE RABBIT EDWARDS JUST PASSED AWAY AND IT IS ONLY ME “SCRATCH” AND RONNIE THOMPSON LEFT. WAS A GREAT RIDE WHILE IT LASTED.

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