Herbie Goins is an African-American blues and R&B singer who has spent most of his career in England. He was born in Florida, and his mother was a gospel singer who had a strong influence on him. He began singing at a young age at his local church, and in his mid-teens, he formed his first performing group, the Teen Kings, who soon began performing throughout Florida and other parts of the south, with a repertory that was mostly R&B. He moved to New York City and, with that as his base, began extending his own experience of the music, in acts opening for B.B. King, Bobby Bland, and Sam Cooke.
It was the military draft that brought Goins to Europe: he served in Germany, and then headed to England in the company of the band led by Eric Delayne. Jazz was the dominant form of alternative music in England at the time, and Goins joined Chris Barber's band for a time, which was primarily a Dixieland-based outfit. But by the mid-'60s, he'd decided to return to the blues, and the time was just right: England finally had a first-rate, home-grown blues outfit that was starting to make some noise, in the record business and the media, in the form of Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated. The latter had gone through several lead singers, including Long John Baldry, before Goins became part of the band in 1965. He spent the next couple of years working alongside of Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Danny Thompson, and Phil Seaman, to name just a few of the luminaries who passed through that lineup across numerous live gigs and a pair of LPs, Live at the Cavern and Red Hot from Alex
In 1966, Goins left Korner to form his own band, the Night-Timers, who quickly built a reputation as one of the best R&B bands in England. At one point, their membership included John McLaughlin on guitar, but it was Goins who became the star in the group, attracting a fierce audience among the Mod population, in particular, for his song "No. 1 in Your Heart." The latter was released by EMI, and Goins later found considerable success with his records on the European continent, as well as in England, although few people in his native United States were aware of him or his talent. He did get to work with an enviable array of visiting Americans, including a not-yet-famous Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding on his renowned 1966 tour of England, and blues legend John Lee Hooker, and the Night-Timers' Monday night jam sessions at Blaises in London quickly became a musical institution in their own right. Later in the decade, he also merged his group for a time with Mick Weaver's instrumental jazz/blues outfit Wynder K. Frog. During the '70s, however, he pulled back from performing to spend more time writing songs and producing, and working on television, and he eventually relocated to Italy late in the decade.
Goins resumed performing on a regular basis in the late '80s, not only in Europe but also the United States, doing blues and gospel, leading the Herbie Goins Band. His work with Alexis Korner remains perhaps the best known of his recordings on an international level, thanks not only to their periodic reissue and Korner's familiarity to British blues fans, but also the addition of bonus tracks (mostly from the radio) that have vastly expanded the range of music that they left behind. During the '90s, he could also still be found working occasionally with his ex-employer Chris Barber and one-time stablemate Dick Heckstall-Smith. In 2009, Goins' classic Night-Timers sides were re-released on a compilation CD in England on the revived Regal Zonophone label.