If This World Were Mine... by Bob & Gene on Apple Music

12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Fifteen-year-old Bobby Nunn and sixteen-year-old Eugene Coplin recorded in the studio Nunn’s father ran out of the basement of their Buffalo home. Though the underage duo managed to release a few highly-coveted singles between 1967 and 1971, their album If This World Were Mine went unreleased for thirty years before being uncovered. Finally given issue by New York funk-revival label Daptone, Bob & Gene’s lone full-length stands as both a gorgeous collection of sweet homemade balladry, and an emblem for the thousands of small-town soul musicians whose musical voices are forever lost to time. Though it borrows liberally from Motown and Philly influences, If This World Were Mine has a personality all its own thanks to the rough-hewn playing and the wide-eyed sincerity of its two teenaged guides. In “Gotta Find A Way,” “I Can Be Cool,” and “You Don’t Need Me” one can relive the tender bruises of an adolescent’s lovelorn heart, and the feelings only get stronger when Bob & Gene slow the music to a crawl. “You Gave Me Love” is the highlight, a crystalline duet in which the purring organ moves at the pace of a passing cloud.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Fifteen-year-old Bobby Nunn and sixteen-year-old Eugene Coplin recorded in the studio Nunn’s father ran out of the basement of their Buffalo home. Though the underage duo managed to release a few highly-coveted singles between 1967 and 1971, their album If This World Were Mine went unreleased for thirty years before being uncovered. Finally given issue by New York funk-revival label Daptone, Bob & Gene’s lone full-length stands as both a gorgeous collection of sweet homemade balladry, and an emblem for the thousands of small-town soul musicians whose musical voices are forever lost to time. Though it borrows liberally from Motown and Philly influences, If This World Were Mine has a personality all its own thanks to the rough-hewn playing and the wide-eyed sincerity of its two teenaged guides. In “Gotta Find A Way,” “I Can Be Cool,” and “You Don’t Need Me” one can relive the tender bruises of an adolescent’s lovelorn heart, and the feelings only get stronger when Bob & Gene slow the music to a crawl. “You Gave Me Love” is the highlight, a crystalline duet in which the purring organ moves at the pace of a passing cloud.

TITLE TIME
2:59
2:39
2:37
3:10
2:23
3:05
0:46
2:50
2:28
2:46
3:47
4:47

About Bob & Gene

Though Bobby Nunn and Eugene Coplin were still teenagers in 1967 when Nunn's father William decided to start his own label, Mo Do Records, the duo didn't let their age stop them from spending their afternoons writing songs and practicing their harmonies. Their single "You Gave Me Love" was the first to be released on Mo Do, and before the label folded in the early '70s due to financial troubles, Bob & Gene, as they called themselves, had become local Buffalo, NY, celebrities. Looking for better musical opportunities, Bobby Nunn eventually moved to California to pursue his career further, singing with Rick James, releasing his own albums on Motown in the '80s, and working as a songwriter for other artists, while Coplin stayed in Buffalo and became an ordained minister. In 2001, record collector and soul music enthusiast David Griffiths came across a 45 from Bob & Gene, a cover of Marvin Gaye's "If This World Were Mine." Intrigued by what he heard, he contacted William Nunn, who then gave Griffiths all of Bob & Gene's old tapes. Believing there was possibility in the collection, Griffiths encouraged the family to allow him to get them released. Daptone Records, a label that specialized in funk and soul, took interest in what Griffiths presented them, and released the full-length If This World Were Mine... in 2007, shortly after the elder Nunn's death. ~ Marisa Brown

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