Billy Hallmark called me a couple of days ago and told me the bad news about Bobby Rector. I am deeply saddened by his passing. Although most of you know I am a believer in the idea that human beings possess an eternally evolving soul, the loss is no less for us left here to mourn. He is on a completely new journey by now, but I will miss him greatly.
I met Bobby back in 1966, after my fellow Golden Dawn members insisted that we find a new drummer due to several problems we were having with our current drummer at that time. Bobby was recommended by Billy Hallmark, largely due to Bobby's close association with Stacy Sutherland and John Ike Walton, Ronnie Leatherman, Terry Penny, Johnny Gathins and others. He was "one of those Kerrville boys."
He drove into my life in a red Corvette and a winning smile. He won the gig at the first audition...he was simply the best drummer we had ever picked with. His drumming was always on beat, and he threw in stuff we had never heard before...it matched our music perfectly. He was a strong, intense drummer, but a very gentle, kind person.
Bobby was also a very accomplished artist. He designed many posters for our band and his design for the cover of our album, Power Plant, was preferred by the band for production, but we were overridden by Intentional Artists producer, Leland Rogers. The cover that came out was designed by George Banks, from Houston, and, I admit, it was a great cover as well. But Bobby drew stuff all the time and we were always impressed by his artistic ability.
Like most bands of the era, there was a lot of debate and variance of opinion among members about a lot of issues, both philosophical and strategically. I was the poet/leader with dreams of world reform and belief in the emergence of an enlightened species that would save our world and propel us into the next phase of human evolution with expanded capacities for compassion, reverence, and conscious abilities. I have devoted my entire life to these goals and ideals. But others, like Bobby, were much more pragmatic about these goals. Bobby believed in living life as it is and making decisions that reflected traditional concepts of success. That is, Bobby wanted to us to be a money-making band, based solely upon musical ability and good business planning. I welcomed Bobby's ideas, because I saw the value and necessity of them if we were to continue to make music professionally. So all in all, we made a good strategic team. The rest of the band had varying ideas blending the benefits and downsides of each of the more polarized ideals, which essential boils down to spirit vs. matter, or art vs. money.
In all cases, though, Bobby was open-minded and fair in his assessments and contributions to our discussions, and, primarily, he was always a reliable and trustworthy drummer and a close, dear friend.
After the band broke up, I lost contact with Bobby for many years. Then when I contacted him again, in 2002 to join the Texas Psych Fest for gigs in Houston and Austin, he was suffering from several illnesses that prevented his participation. I have always regretted the fact that he did not play for those gigs. It would have been much more of a "real" reunion if he and Tommy Ramsey had played. As it were, Jimmy Bird and Billy Hallmark and I did the shows as the only original members of the Golden Dawn. And while we did our best, and put together a really great band, it would have been a great comfort to my heart to have played a few more gigs with Bobby setting the beat and keeping everything where it was supposed to be musically.
Bands are only the expressions of the members therein. And Bobby Rector was an integral, respected, essential member of the Golden Dawn.
Keep up the chops, Bobby; I guess the rest of us will be there before too long to start a new band. And it will truly and forever be a Golden Dawn.
Your friend and brother in music,