’50s blues shooter ‘H-Bomb’ Ferguson dies

Robert Ferguson, a pioneer blues shouter known as “H-Bomb” because of his booming voice, has died after a short stay at Hospice of Cincinnati. He was 77.

Ferguson, whose recording of “Good Lovin'” was awarded a gold record in 1952, quit music in the 1970s but resumed performing in the mid-1980s. He had been in ill health the past year and died on Sunday of complications from emphysema and cardiopulmonary disease, said a family friend, the Rev. Julia Keene.

Ferguson sang and played piano in a flamboyant style, wearing colorful wigs.

“If it wasn’t for folks like him, blues wouldn’t be what it is today. He was doing it first,” said Lance Boyd, guitarist for Ferguson’s group, The Medicine Men.

Cincinnati had observed H-Bomb Ferguson Day on Oct. 17, and a documentary directed by John Parker, “Blues Legend: The Life and Times of H-Bomb Ferguson,” debuted that day.

“He wanted to be remembered as a performer who gave it his all every time,” said his wife, Christine Ferguson. “His voice was just so magnetic _ a very deep voice with a mix of gravel in it. Women found it very sexy.”

Survivors include his wife and son, Robbie, of Cincinnati; and three children from a previous marriage, Terri Tillerson of Houston, and Tara Kelly and Ethan Ferguson, both of Henderson, Ky.

A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday evening at Garden Park Unity Church.