There is little biographical information about him other than what can be gleaned from the notes written by John Ridley on Charly's release of his Hep Me recordings back in 1988. I have not got the 2 most recent CD compilations on him by Westside in 2002 and Aim last year because I already had the tracks on vinyl. Therefore I don't know whether there is further information with these CDs. If anyone knows I would be interested or knew his whereabouts for a possible interview for as far as I know he hasn't been interviewed.
What we do have in the meantime is an enjoyable clip courtesy of Innercalm on You Tube of Bobby performing his Whit recording "It's Getting Late In The Evening" on The Beat circa 1966:
What we do know about Bobby is that he was born in Louisiana near Baton Rouge around 1941/42. Bobby has been blind from an early age and attended the Southern University For The Blind where he used music to express himself.
Apparently, he moved away from his strict gospel upbringing in his third year of college after he was approached by Lionel Whitfield a local entrepeneur. He recorded his first 45 which was released on Whit at the Deep South Studios in Baton Rouge. He had 2 Atlantic 45s and 17 45's for Whit plus another leased to Jewel. He still continued to record with Lionel Whitfield into the 70's and even released an album on Excello called "Thank You" which was released in the UK on Contempo in 1975.
Bobby parted company with Whitfield after the Excello album and was several years before he had further release in the late 70's and early 80's for Senator Jones's Hep Me label. Senator Jones issued an album on Bobby called "Bobby Powell Explains The Glory Of Love" (Hep Me 1001) which formed the basis of Charly's 1988 album. The Charly album also had 2 unissued tracks "Spread You Love" and "Let Me Love You" which were originally issued in Japan. He also went on to record a gospel album called "Down By The Riverside" (Hep Me 130). As far as I know that was his last recording though he did still perform gospel into the 80's.