Robert Ferguson was born in 1931 in Charleston, South Carolina. His father was a minister in the community and through him Ferguson got his start in music. With his father's help and support he learned to play the piano, and as his father insisted he stick to gospel music. While young and with the family, he complied, but in his late teens he jumped into the music he really loved - the blues and rhythm tunes he heard from the Black night spots of his home town. His first foray into this music scene was in 1950 when he did a stint with the touring unit of Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers, one of the top R & B bands of the late forties. He left the band and stayed in the Atlanta area for a few months picking up spare jobs wherever he could. He headed North with the combo of Ted Anderson for a few weeks. When young Bob Ferguson landed in New York City, he decided to stay in the Big Apple and see how he could do on his own. He was initially befriended by Nipsey Russell who was instrumental in getting Ferguson a spot at Harlem's Club Baby Grand using the stage name as "The Cobra Kid". He did well enough on his maiden voyage as a vocalist in the R & B style to get a shot at recording for the independent Derby Records label.
Derby Records #759 was released in 1950 and featured Bob Ferguson on vocals with Jack Parker's Orchestra on the tunes "Wine Head Woman" and "Hard Lovin' Woman". A few months later that year #769 was out on Derby - "I'm Gone I'm Gone" and "Jumpin' And Shoutin' "Neither record did much on the rapidly expanding R & B market of 1950. Next Ferguson recorded a few sides for the Atlas label, another New York based independent company. It was here that Ferguson first used the name "H-Bomb" as a testament to his gruff blues shouting style. In 1951 Atlas released 1001 - "Rock H-Bomb Rock" / "I Love My Baby" recorded with the Charlie Singleton Orchestra. Singleton was an important figure in the R & B world in New York during the late forties to the mid fifties. Followup sides for Atlas with Singleton were #1002 - "Gone With The Wind" / "Blow Mister Singleton" and #1005 - "Good Time Gal" and "I'm On My Way". Late in 1951 there was one side for the usually jazz specific Prestige label once again with Jack Parker's band (this time called Jack "The Bear" on the label). The tunes were "Feel Like I Do" and "My Love" on #918.
In 1952 there were four sides cut for Savoy Records based in Newark, New Jersey. In January "Slowly Going Crazy" and "Good Lovin" on #830, "Big City Blues" and "Bookie's Blues" on #836 out in late February, "Preachin The Blues" and "Hot Kisses" on #848, and "Give It Up" and a duet on "Tortured Love" with R & B singer Arietta Dillard on #856. Although not big sellers, Ferguson with his catchy nickname and vocal resemblance to Wynonie Harris was becoming a known rhythm and blues commodity in the Northeast of the early nineteen fifties. In April H-Bomb joins fellow blues singer B.B. King for a tour of one nighters along with Milt Larkin and his combo. In August Ferguson signs on for a two month tour of the South along with Wini Brown, The Swallows, and the Todd Rhodes Orchestra with Lil' Miss Sharecropper. In 1953 H-Bomb hits the road again, this time with Little Esther and Tab Smith and his combo. The show does great business in Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida. During the summer H-Bomb and the Guy Dickerson combo play a number of clubs in the Northeast. ferguson records a one off for the Specialty label based in Los Angeles. "She's Been Gone Too Long" and "You Made Me Baby" is released on #467. There is also a record released by the small Sunset label in New York with the tunes "Nanny Miss Fanny" and "Every Night" on #107. Into the rock 'n' roll age H-Bomb recorded for a variety of labels but never sold much and continued to make appearances in small clubs and on tour as a supporting act.
In 1954 a Decca Records release appeared by the Andy Kirk Orchestra with a vocal by H-Bomb Ferguson vocal on one side on the tune "Hole In The Wall". Little is heard from Ferguson for the next three years and then in 1957 a recording on the small Finch Records #354 with "She Don't Want Me (parts one and two)". The next year Ferguson began a series of records billed as H-Bomb Ferguson & The Mad Lads. First there were two releases on the Big Bang label - #103 : "Spaghetti And Meat Balls" and "No Sackie Sack". This was followed by "Rain Rain Rain" and "Boogie Down" on #105. H-Bomb & The Mad Lads recorded one for Arc Records in 1958 of "Little Tiger" and "I'm Crying Over You" on #9001. The last recordings for this group came in late 1959 for the Federal label in Cincinnati, Ohio. Federal #12399 of "Midnight Rambling" and "Boo Hoo" was followed by "I'm So Lonely" and "Little Mary" on 12411. These sides were the last by H-Bomb Ferguson for more than a quarter of a century.
After the sides he cut for Federal, he remained in that city and since that day has called the city on the Ohio River his home. By the mid eighties Ferguson decided to reappear on the music scene. He adopted his new persona courtesy of Rick James. Now in his mid fifties H-Bomb kept his nickname but now had a wild appearance to go with his name. Sporting a number of fluorescent colored long haired wigs, singing the blues and pounding the piano, he certainly became "da Bomb" ! Appearing with a solid backup band called The Medicine Men, Ferguson is a bit of a throwback to the great R & B shouters of the post war years. A 1993 cd for Earwig called "Wiggin' Out" is a good intro to H-Bomb at the present time. Solid latter day R & B by a past master along with Martin Charters on guitar, Eric Neuhauser on tenor sax, Matt Skollar on harmonica, John Smith on bass, and K.M. Williams on drums and vocals. For H-Bomb the first time around, "Life Is Hard" on Savoy features Ferguson's early fifties recordings for that label. He also appears on a live in Cincinnati album by George Thorogood & the Delaware Destroyers for EMI and is also part of a number of compilation cds by various artists on labels such as Moonshine, Stompin', Westside, Ace, and Past Perfect.
H-Bomb Ferguson is a throwback artist with one foot in the present. A little bit of Wynonie Harris, a bit of Howlin Wolf, mix in some Rick James, and a dash of hip hop, and you have the great and unique talent of H-Bomb Ferguson, an American original.