Robert is a homegrown Key West talent that grew up on the corner of Emilia & Whitehead Street enjoying his older brother George sing. George went on tour with BB King for a short time then returned to Key West and now runs his own business in Miami. Another brother William was a great singer but never went professional.
When Robert was growing up on Amelia Street near Whitehead just behind a nightclub that is now the home of the Elks Club, he remembers a number of big name acts would perform there in the 1950's, including the legendary Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Lou Brown and others. Robert would climb out on the roof of their house to listen to the performers in the open air stage in the rear of the nightclub (I'm trying to get the name). As a young man Robert was inspired by Louis Armstrong's performance.
A promoter named Curtis Brown (his wife’s stepfather) brought a number of singers to Key West at the "Strand" Theater. He booked Otis Redding, Billy Ocean, and the immortal James Brown to Key West. A local singer Willis T. Hagan sang with James Brown on stage and was offered a chance to tour with him. James Brown returned to Key West a number of times influencing Robert's love of Soul Music.
The Albury family was not always a Blues and Soul music family. The great Key West percussionist Buddy Chavez tells everyone that Robert's father Philip Albury taught him and most of the Cuban conga players in town how to play percussion. Philip Albury spoke more Spanish than English and had his own Latin band while Robert was growing up.
Robert Albury and Paulie Walterson were members of the same band "The Wanderers" in High School with Willis C. Hagan, and Gary Moore. Robert's first big gig in Key West was at the Navy NCCS Club on Whitehead, then the USO Club, and the Elks Club. Robert was also a member of "Soul Party" goup with Marty Stonely. Robert has been singing at the Sunset Pier for 21 years and has been working and singing at Sloppy Joes for 22 years.
© Ralph De Palma Photographer