I was introduced to BB Bugaloo by Vince Salerno in summer of ’85.
BB was born Justice Obed, living in Takoradi, Ghana near the central western coast of Africa. Friends from his soccer team heard him singing to James Brown and Sam Cook songs in a nightclub. One of them played bass in a local band and invited him to audition. BB joined the band and they were soon opening for one of Ghana’s top acts, BB Dynamite. Around this time, Justice Obed became BB Bugaloo.
The band quickly gained a following. It was said that BB Dynamite had the showman moves, but BB Bugaloo had the voice. Soon the band was touring extensively. First, throughout Africa, then across Europe with extended stays in France, Sweden and Italy. In 1979, a member of the American consulate saw BB performing at a nightclub. He complimented BB, and promised that if he ever wanted to take his talent to the US, he would help him with his visa.
BB arrived in the states in spring of 1980, spending a short time at Berkeley School of Music in Boston. After his money ran out, friends convinced him to join them in Chicago. BB was soon fronting African reggae band, Asafo, playing African expat bars on the south side at night, during the day parking cars as a garage attendant. That’s where he heard Vince practicing his sax under the Columbus Drive bridge, and invited him to join them.
In the summer of 1985, BB went into the studio with Asafo to record his first American album. The project was produced by Eric Schuurman for African businessman Robert Barimah Minta who released it in Europe.
BB is currently living in Ghana.