Though primarily known for his work with two indelible vocal groups of the 1950’s, Bobby Nunn also moonlighted occasionally as a solo act as well as being paired with female vocalists in duets at the whims of various record labels.

Nunn was born in Alabama in 1925 and grew up being exposed to the many musical troupes that traveled the south during that era, working as a boy with one vaudeville act known as The Brownskin Models Revue. At some point during his youth his family settled in Detroit, among the many Southern migrants looking for better working and living conditions up North. After coming of age Nunn joined the Armed Forces where he honed his musical skills and when he received his discharge he headed to Los Angeles seeking to make a career as an entertainer.

Entering an amateur contest at Johnny Otis’s Barrelhouse Club in 1948 as part of a music/comic duo with Leard Bell, the enterprising Otis recruited both men for his growing repertory group. Bell worked as a drummer while Nunn was convinced to pair up with a vocal group known as The A-Sharp Trio who in short order became The Robins. It was with The Robins that Nunn would remain for the next eight years as their bass lead before he and fellow Robin, Carl Gardner, followed the writing/production team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller across country to form The Coasters in 1956. Nunn would remain with them only two years by which time they’d scored a string of huge hits.

During all of this he found time to cut occasional solo sessions beginning in 1949 for Dootsie Williams’s newly formed Blue Records (and later DooTone) as a baritone and over time he’d guest on other records, particularly those of Little Esther with whom he recorded the memorable duet “Double Crossin’ Blues” while both were still associated with Johnny Otis.

Nunn would cut some sides under his own name in the early 1960’s as well as sing back up for others before reviving The Coasters name for live gigs once the still-active group he’d left saw their recording opportunities dwindle in the mid-1960’s. Ironically his act, the Coasters Mark II as they became known, was made up of mostly ex-Robins and he led them until his death in 1986.
BOBBY NUNN DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Blue 105; July, 1949)
Stepping away from a group setting for the first time Nunn also discards his bass delivery for baritone but while he’s merely serviceable on this rather routine offering, the band behind him elevates it considerably. (5)

(Blu 115; November, 1950)
Nunn more than holds his own with saxophonist Bump Myers – who gets the lead artist credit – as the two of them create an instant party anthem as Nunn’s vocal enthusiasm and Myers passionate blowing push each other higher from beginning to end. (8)

(Blu 115; November, 1950)
Using his preferred baritone delivery on a slower song isn’t always the best way to highlight Nunn’s skills and with a tune that runs short on details it makes this somewhat forgettable even if everyone involved carries out their roles with modest effectiveness. (5)

(Modern 20-807; March, 1951)
Though credited to Nunn “with The Robbins”, this was a full group effort merely designed to avoid contractual hassles and is notable for being the first record written by Leiber & Stoller and while there are some solid components it’s not quite as impressive as its reputation. (5)

(Modern 20-807; March, 1951)
An old song with new lyrics as Bobby Nunn merely recycles The Robins’ initial offering from way back in the spring of 1949 and while they may sound more polished in their deliveries they’re still offering something stale in the process. (4)

(Federal 12100; October, 1952)
Though he may have been happy to get back in the studio after a prolonged absence, the contrived circumstances – singing with Little Esther and trying to recapture their commercial magic from 1950 – means this falls flat as the song and arrangement are both lacking. (4)

(Recorded In Hollywood 244; November, 1952)
A really well-written, sung and and arranged lament about how depressing the holiday can be if you are alone is good enough to become an annual standard, yet the realistic dour theme means not many people want to be reminded of those feelings each year. (7)