Bob Paris Combo
Bob Paris (Lead Guitar / Vibes)
Bernie Allen (Saxophone)
Gene Blazer (Bass Guitar)
Mike Nock (Piano)
Don Branch (Drums)
Bob Paris first started playing in a dance outfit that used to play regularly at the Jive Centre in Auckland, and they were appropriately called the Jive Centre Band. The members of that band were Bob Paris on guitar and vibes, Brian Smith and Bill Fairs on saxophones, Gene Blazer on bass, Keith McMillan on drums and Ian Lowe on rhythm guitar.
In 1958 there were a number of personnel changes to that group and out of it, basically a new band emerged, called the Bob Paris Combo, who continued to play at the Jive Centre. The only remaining members were Bob himself and Gene Blazer. Ian Lowe moved on to the Stereotones before fronting Ian Lowe and the Tornadoes.
The original line-up of the Combo didn't stay together too long before some of the old Jive Centre Band members returned. Bernie Allen was replaced by Bill Fairs and Don Branch was replaced by Keith McMillan. A new piano player, Bob Anderson, also arrived to take over from Mike Nock.
The Combo was very popular with the dance goers and they rocked up quite a storm doing their Bill Haley covers. They were also used as the backing band for Johnny Devlin. Between August and October 1958, Devlin recorded a dozen songs and the Bob Paris Combo were used as backing on all of these tracks. When Devlin was ready to go on his record breaking tour of New Zealand, Bob Paris and his band weren't keen on going on the road, so a new backing band, which ended up being the Devils was put together.
An EP was released on the Zodiac label in 1958, called "The Bob Paris Combo". The tracks on the EP were "Drag Strip", "How High The Moon", "R-O-C-K" and "Rock For Lionel".
Following this they released three singles for Zodiac in 1959. They were "Rebel Rouser"/"Rumble", "Big Girl", "Time Bomb"/"Theme From Peter Gunn". The second single was shared with Eddie Howell, whose A-side song was called "Big Girl".
The Bob Paris Combo broke up in 1959 and Bob moved to Sydney where he ended up joining one of the Australian versions of the Devils, replacing Aussie guitarist Neville Chamberlain.
Bob was back in New Zealand in 1961 and at that stage he continued recording, but simply under the name Bob Paris. Now with La Gloria, he released another EP called "Gone West", containing "Cool Water", "You Don't Know What Lonesome Is", "Night Train In Memphis" and "Trambone" in 1961 along with three more singles. They were "The Lonely Sound Of Johnny Guitar"/"Whatcha Gonna Do", "Dearly Beloved"/"Grandfather's Clock" and "Walkin' Back Twist"/"Paris Twist", with the last single actually released under the name Bob Paris and his Peppermints.
By 1962 he had moved to the Phillips label and released two singles that year, "Bird Dog"/"Harlem Nocturne" and "Guitar Country Style"/"Geisha Girl". His final single was released in 1963 called "Fuzzy Duck"/"Midnight Sun".
In 1964 Bob joined a new Auckland group the Merseymen. Of the others from the Combo, Bill Fairs became a member of the Keil Isles and Gene Blazer rejoined his old friend Ian Lowe in Ian Lowe and the Tornadoes.
Bob died in November 1994 aged 55 years.
New Zealand Music