It wasn’t that obvious that Bobby Wade really had been steeped in the vocal traditions of the church, but on the uptown ballads he favoured he had enough power and presence to put over a lyric very effectively. You Don’t Understand Me was a case in point. His big voice soars over the notes superbly well generating a considerable sense of abandonment and pain. He is known as a Cleveland artist but this first 45 was for the Sharon, PA based Marjon concern located just over the Ohio state line.
By the mid 60s he was working for the Way Out label making a series of recordings somewhat in the big city form of artists like Walter Jackson. Both sides of his first 45 for the label were top quality songs very well delivered by Wade over a large orchestral backing. No wonder they were licensed out to the King conglomerate for national distribution. Although “Four Walls And A Window” is more famous I actually think that Can’t You Hear Me Calling is slightly more melodic and therefore preferable. But his next 45 Blind Over You is even better. A stunning cry ballad beautifully rendered it seems to have slipped off the radar of soul fans which is a big shame as it may just be Wade’s best vocal of them all.
His Way Out single from the 70s “I’m In Love With You” is another fine effort but it sounds as though it was cut several years earlier and left in the can.
UPDATE ~ Those fine guys at Numero have issued a CD on the Way Out label - and it features a couple of tracks by Bobby - buy it!
Dave Michaels alos writes with a corrected date for Bobby's first 45. He writes "Backing group is the Cootie Harris Combo from Meadville PA, where Wade was living and performing at the time and I was attending college. Got my copy from Bobby personally." Thanks to Dave for the great info.
You don’t understand me / They call it stormy Monday ~ MARJON 508 (1966/7)
Four walls and a window / Can’t you hear me calling ~ WAY OUT 2001/2 (1967) / DE LUXE 121 (1970)
Flame in my heart / Can't you hear me calling ~ BIG JIM 3275
Blind over you / Funny how time slips away ~ DE LUXE 128 (1970)
I’m in love with you / Down here on the ground ~ WAY OUT 102 (1971)
Only me / Inst ~ C & G 100 (AS THE IMPERIALS FEAT BOBBY WADE)
Bobby Wade & The Emperors "Live In Las Vegas"
Special thanks to Greg Burgess for the info on Bobby's CD.