Bobby Simms & the Simmers WMRC 45 Big Mama

Bobby Simms & the Simmers

Bobby Simms was born Robert Siemiaskzo. While still in high school in 1961 he joined the Mus-Twangs as lead vocalist. The Mus-Twangs were based out of Harvey, Illinois, about 20 miles south of central Chicago and just west of Hammond, Indiana. The Mus-Twangs had two instrumental singles on Smash, including the very first single ever released by that label, “Marie” / “Roch Lomond”.

Simms left the Mustangs in 1962 and started the Bobby Simms Trio with Mus-Twangs bassist Keith Anderson, recording a good Mersey-influenced single in 1964 on New Breed “And Your Mine” / “Do Things Right” featuring the drumming and harmonica of Verne Johnson (later of Illinois Speed Press).

Bobby Simms Billboard 1965 April 10In 1965 Simms had his own single on Smash, “The World Is Funny” / “You’re My Everything” which I haven’t heard yet.

The following year he released a 45 as Bobby Simms and the Simmers, featuring two of his original songs, the raucous “Big Mama” backed with a much gentler harmony sound in “Please Please Believe”.

Bobby Simms & the Simmers WMRC 45 Big MamaThis seems to be the only release on WM & RC Records, though there were two different labels, one featuring a key and distribution by Summit. WM standing for Walter Melnyk, the manager of Simms and owner of the M.B. Club in the Burnside neighborhood of Chicago. The “C” in RC stands for Cox, co-producer of the sinle with Melnyk. Publishing was by M.B. Key BMI.

Musicians on the Simmers single included Keith Anderson and Verne Johnson from the Trio, plus guitarist Paul Cotton from the Mus-Twangs.

In 1967 Simms became one of the founding members of the Rotary Connection. Keith Anderson and Paul Cotton formed the Rovin’ Kind, which evolved into Illinois Speed Press.

I’m sorry to report that while researching this post I saw a comment from Keith Anderson that Bobby Simms passed away on May 29, 2015.

Information for this post came from Paul Cotton’s excellent site, especially this page on Bobby Simms.

Bobby Simms & the Simmers WMRC 45 Please Please BelieveBobby Simms & the Simmers WM & RC 45 Big Mama Key Production

3 thoughts on “Bobby Simms & the Simmers”

  1. Rotary Connection was certainly the best known group that Sims was in. In their mention on the Sims page, strangely, singer Minnie Riperton is listed as “Riperton, Minnie”. (None of the other names are shown in that fashion).
    The Proper Strangers, also mentioned on the Sims pg, included former Wisconsinite James Bryant, who was involved in several Chi-based releases (and who is covered in my 2nd WI bk).

  2. I first heard of the Bobby Simms Trio in 1966 when two of my girlfriends told me about ’em. Sandra Steff and Valerie Wilding (Fenger High School grads, class of 1969)joined the trio on some local south side Chicago gigs as part of a trio of backup “chick singers” called The Coquettes. Until the Illinois Central/Metra train line rebuilt their station at 115th St/Kensington the name “Coquettes” was carved into the wall going up the stairs to the commuter station for thousands to see! I never saw them but they were a well known “name band”…several years older than me…so they were playing in taverns in the Burnside area. After the Rotary Connection I lost track of Simms but knew about the bands infamous rehearsal spot at 95th and cottage above an automotive engine steam cleaning operation. In 1986 legendary Chicago bassist JoeClark formed a “one off” band with Bobby to play our local 4th of July picnic…they called themselves “Cottage Grove”…Simms played a loud and heavy guitar (Les Paul through a Twin Reverb with a fuzz pedal) in a style that reminded me of a cross between Jim Donnlinger of Aorta, Elvin Bishop and Clapton. He later moved into the apartment below my sister in law and we started jamming. In the ’90’s he was doing a solo act on acoustic with a snare and kick drum hooked up, one each, to his left and right foot. Think that’s easy? Try it sometime!

  3. I had many good times with Bobby and Keith in the 60’s. Besides seeing them often, I recorded several full performances both at the second 2nd Step and the MB Club. The Step recordings were done in 1962 and 1963 and the MB recording was done in 1966. In 1964 I was transferred to Portland, Oregon and boy did I miss “my guys” However, I did manage to book them into a club in Redding, Calif. in 1965. They drove out and stayed at my house. I had formed a teenaged fan club and we had a free concert for them. They were thrilled. A White Castle…111th and State

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