b. Robert Gene Rice, 11 July 1944, on a farm at Boscobel, Wisconsin, USA. The Rice Family were musical and all six siblings were taught instruments as children. After first playing for local parties, the family progressed to running the local Circle D Ballroom. Rice, who plays guitar and banjo, made his first appearances there with the family at the age of five. From the mid-50s, for almost seven years, the family also presented their own show on WRCO Richmond, Wisconsin, on which Bobby became the featured vocalist. In 1962, after graduation and after the family group disbanded, Bobby Rice pursued a musical career. He formed the Rock-A-Teens band, which played rock ‘n’ roll locally and on its own programme on WIST-TV. After two years, missing country music, he began to sing as a duo with his sister Lorraine. They proved popular in their area, hosted their own television show and sang backing harmonies on others. After Lorraine retired, he formed his own band, began songwriting and played what he termed modern country, which included country arrangements of pop songs. He moved to Nashville in the late 60s and recorded for Royal American. In the early 70s, his first five chart entries were all minor hits with songs that had been pop hits of the early 60s, including ‘Sugar Shack’ and ‘Hey Baby’. Further hits followed, including Top 10s with ‘You Lay So Easy On My Mind’ (self-penned; a UK pop hit for Andy Williams in 1975), ‘You Give Me You’ and ‘Freda Comes, Freda Goes’. Between 1976 and 1988, he charted 19 hits but only ‘The Softest Touch In Town’ made the Top 30, the last being ‘Clean Livin’ Folk’ - a duet with Perry LaPointe in 1988. He recorded albums for several different labels but has seemingly failed to maintain the popularity he established in the 70s. He now works mainly in record production and has presently stopped recording new material.
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