Bob was born in Buffalo, NY. While his parents were not performers they sang all the time around the house. Bob’s father was the proprietor of a small grocery store and Bob’s earliest remembrances of his father were of him singing in a beautiful baritone in the style of Bing Crosby… to this day every time Bob hears Bing Crosby he can see his dad. Bob’s mother raised seven children and sang to all of them. To Bob her voice was the best he ever heard. Bob’s grandmother played piano.
Bob’s interest in music was first piqued when he saw Ricky Nelson perform on the popular show of the day, Ozzie and Harriet. Bob’s brother Howard brought home a guitar one day and while Howard never really played, he loved folk songs from Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Eric Anderson, and that music had a strong influence on Bob.
While Bob was home “sick” from school one day he taught himself “Mr. Tambourine Man” from Howard’s Dylan song book. Bob was about 13 at the time and has been playing and singing ever since. All through High School Bob performed in folk and rock groups playing Beatles, Stones, Dylan, and later Hendrix and Cream. Bob went to college briefly in Iowa and found it not to his liking. He came home to Buffalo and met David Nehrboss. Together they formed a very popular local acoustic duo called “Gold”. While with Gold, Bob performed at he “Bitter End” in NYC and the “Riverboat” coffee house in Toronto. During that time Bob performed with the likes of Dave Von Ronk, Biff Rose, Don McClean as well as several other nationally and internationally famous folk acts of the day.
Many demos were recorded back then and a television pilot was shot in Toronto. Success was imminent or so it seemed. Bob admits his ego got in the way and he left the group in late 1971. Subsequently, “Gold” went on to LA and NYC. Gold eventually was signed by A&M records for a 10 album multi-year deal. Due to health circumstances of Bobby Fraunheim (piano, guitar, pedal steel and vocals) the group split up and the contract was never fulfilled. Bobby’s passing in 08′ led to a Gold reunion and David, Bob and Sherry Hackett recently completed a “new” Gold album to be released early in 2011. Sherry Nehrboss, David’s wife and musical partner, is playing and singing Bobby’s parts and also produced the cd.
Bob played clubs and bars in Buffalo until 1974 when he moved to Atlanta. At this time the reality of having to make a living made it necessary for Bob to play more and more commercial music. Finding himself in bars and lounges rather than the coffee house and concert stage, he decided to go back to college to study business with an eye on law school. During this time Bob was for a while a voice major at GSU and along with business Bob studied, speech, drama, and even dance (Bob admits to being a horrible dancer).
During the 70s Bob was encouraged by music industry mogul Bill Lowery who told Bob that “maybe once a year we find someone who can write a song and this year you are it.” Highly encouraged, Bob wrote and wrote. Many of the songs from that era can be heard on Bob’s first album simply titled “Bob Bakert.” Bob went on to record a second album in the late 70s called “Romance.” This era was filed with Urban Cowboy and Disco and the music of this second album (produced by Peter Mercure with some of Atlanta’s finest rock musicians including Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites and Randy Delay a very in demand drummer of the day in a very “pop” style) never found an audience. The music from those records is available from CD Baby.
Bob continued his studies, all the while taking private lessons in voice and guitar. (Bob has had 14 voice coaches and at least that many guitar teachers…. Bob still studies. He is at Georgia State University as a performance major in the jazz department. In 1983, Bob was offered a job in business and took it. For the next 20 years Bob continued to play out sporadically all the while playing, writing and studying guitar with as much passion as ever. The voice however took a hit. Working with Atlanta voice coaches Heidi Higgins, Tracy Taylor and DR. Adam Kirkpatrick, Bob is making the most of his talent. “I don’t have the same range I had when I was younger, but I know I sing with much more depth of feeling and have far better control.”
While looking for a guitar as a gift Bob, who was playing mostly electric guitar at this time, was bit by the acoustic, singer-songwriter bug again. In 2009 Bob discovered Ragamuffin Music in Roswell and started playing at the open mics. Initially dusting off old originals and covers, Bob started writing songs again and has recorded several of them including “Spanish Rain,” “I’ve Been Thinking,” “Jeanne’s Song” and “Partners.” These songs are on his current CD “Finger Paintings” available at cdbabay.com. There is a new album in the works for a late 2015 release of all jazz standards tentatively called “Deli”.
Lately Bob has been performing around Atlanta and is looking forward to a busy music calendar in 2016. Bob will answer all emails and looks forward to connecting with all of you…!
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