Willis Dobbins was born in Marshalltown in 1933 and went into the Air Force in the Early 50’s. It was there in 1953 that Ruben Wright taught him how to sing, and he joined the band the Blenders in 1956. In 1965 he came to Des Moines, and attended Drake University. He replaced George Davis in the Soul Brothers, when George went to Vietnam.
According to Willis the band consisted of Gene Jackson, Gary Jackson, and Gilbert Davis. Willis worked for the state of Iowa after graduation from Drake. He was a GED Examiner and would help set up both GED classes and correspondence courses. Willis performed off and on with the Soul Brothers until they broke up in the late 70’s. According to Willis the band broke up because of the popularity of DJ’s and Disco. Willis retired from the State in 1999, and now is enjoying his retirement occasionally singing at various jam sessions.
PHOTO © LORI BOWLING