H-Bomb Ferguson (May 9, 1929 – November 26, 2006) was
an American jump blues singer from Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. He was
an early pioneer of the rock and roll sound of the mid 1950s, featuring
driving rhythm, intensely shouted vocals, honking tenor saxophone solos, and
outlandish personal appearance. Ferguson sang and played piano in a
flamboyant style, wearing colorful wigs.
Life and career
Born Robert Percell Ferguson in Charleston, South Carolina, he was the
eleventh of twelve children. His father was a Baptist preacher who paid for
piano lessons for his son, on condition he learned sacred melodies. But
Ferguson had other ideas. "After church was over, while the people was all
standing outside talking, me and my friends would run back inside and I'd
play the blues on the piano."
At the age of 19, he was on the road with Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers.
They moved to New York, where Ferguson branched off on his own, getting a
gig at the nightclub Baby Grand Club in Harlem, billed as "The Cobra
His 1951-1952 recording contract with Savoy Records produced some of his
best recordings. Drummer, Jack "The Bear" Parker, who played on the Savoy
dates, allegedly bestowed the singer with his explosive moniker. Other
accounts credit Savoy record producer, Lee Magid, with coining H-Bomb's
handle; either way, his dynamite vocals fulfilled the billing. However,
it was not until 1955 that rock and roll became a sensation, when Bill Haley
& His Comets' version of "Rock Around the Clock" became a hit.
Ferguson retired from touring in the early 1970s, but made a number of
comebacks. Backed by the Medicine Men, he recorded his first album, Wiggin'
Out, for Chicago's Earwig Music in 1993. He died in 2006 at the Hospice
of Cincinnati of complications from emphysema and cardiopulmonary
His early work was featured in a compilation album H-Bomb Ferguson: Big City
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia