Bob Dorr & The Blue Band
2007 - Band
Bob Dorr & The Blue Band started in Cedar Falls IA, in the early summer of 1981 simply as a way to satisfy the remaining contracted obligations of a band that had broken up in the spring of '81. Blue Band founding members Bob Dorr (vocals and harmonica) and Molly Nova (bass, violin, and vocals) assembled old friends to play the remaining three contracted dates of The Little Red Rooster Band, which Dorr and Nova had been part of, starting in early 1977.
Drummer Bryce Loshman, who played the last few performances of Little Red Rooster, agreed to play the three dates. E. Scott Esbeck, who could play bass and guitar, answered an ad posted in Steb’s Bar. Dorr called two other old friends from the mid 70s. "Wild" Bill Cannon was a one man horn section and outrageous character, and Jimmy "The Kid" Price, an aspiring songwriter and newspaper writer, played guitar and sang a few songs. These six people worked up enough songs to play the three contracted dates, decided to name itself Bobby's Blue Band, (a tongue-in-cheek, humorous spin on famous blues singer Bobby Blue Bland's name) and played their first show June 10, 1981 at The
Cooper Wagon Works nightclub in Dubuque IA.
Bobby's Blue Band actually experienced great success on those initial three shows. Buoyed by that success, most of the band members decided to stay with it. At that time, Jim Price decided he could not afford the time for a full-time band along with his day job and school. Guitarist Jeff Petersen, fresh from the breakup of another IRRMA HOF band-Headstone, joined the group in September of 1981. After nine months, saxman Bill Cannon, who was already in his 50s, while the rest of the group were in their 20s, returned to his day job and was replaced by a number of sax players including Danny Duke and Phillip "Bunky" Marlowe, until Iowa City sax player Bob Thompson joined the band shortly after the break up of Bo Ramsey's Sliders in 1984.
Coming along with Thompson from The Sliders was sound engineer Phil Maass, who also was the band's road manager for nine years and still mixes sound on special shows. Maass is still the band's technical advisor today. After two albums, Scott Esbeck returned to college and was replaced by veteran Cedar Rapids guitarman Ron DeWitte in
early 1984. When Bob Thompson stopped touring with the band after major inner ear surgery in late 1986, he was replaced by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Dan Magarrell. He was the primary songwriter of the band for his nearly nine-year stay. Over the Blue Band's 25 plus year history, there have been nearly 20 significantly contributing players in the band. (They are listed in the center of this book.)
In the Blue Band's 25 plus year history, the group has averaged playing around 125 dates a year, traveling mainly 300 miles from its base in Cedar Falls, playing the majority of those dates in Iowa but also making appearances in Minneapolis, Omaha, Kansas City, and Chicago. Highlight shows include a 22 year run at the Iowa State Fair, four appearances at the Mississippi Valley Blues Society Festival, and two appearances at the Kansas City Jazz & Blues Festival.
There have been over 20 Blue Band album releases including five vinyl records. The band was one of the first Iowa bands to have music released on CD in 1987. In 2006, to celebrate the Blue Band's 25th Anniversary, Iowa Public TV released a 2-DVD set spanning the group's history and including footage from 12 different years. The 25th Anniversary concert has been broadcast across Iowa on IPTV numerous times. Bob Dorr & The Blue Band aspires to keep playing as many dates as possible, hoping to reach its 30th Anniversary June 10, 2011.