Barbara "Sandi" Robison was born October 14, 1945 as Barbara Jeane Moyer in Las Vegas, Nevada. Robison's parents died when she was young so, throughout her childhood, Robison was raised by her grandparents in the small town of Lagunitas, California. She sang in her local high school's chorus assembly. By her early teens, she also sang in her local church, and had the ability to perform in multiple genres including folk, pop, and rock.
Toward the latter duriation of high school, Robison gravitated toward the folk music scene. She met contemporaries like David Crosby, Dino Valenti, and future husband, Robbie Robison, who was later a part of the band, Clear Light. In 1963, at the age of 18, she and Robbie Robison married and moved to Los Angeles and began performing as a duo. A year later in late 1964, future PBC member John Merrill met Barbara Robison after a gig in The Insomniac, located in Hermosa Beach. He proposed that she join his group, which included bassist Jim Cherniss, in recording a single. Robison accepted, and made her recording debut in January 1965 by providing backing vocals to the folk rock oriented single that included "Love Her Everyday" b/w "Or Else You'll Cry". It was under the group name The Young Swingers. Their next single, recorded in April 1965, placed Robison at lead vocals. The single included "Wind's Up High" b/w "Let's Take Our Love". This year also brought changes in the lineup. Another future PBC member, Alan Brackett, joined. A drummer named Doug Rowe was added, but soon replaced by Spencer Dryden. From this point on, the five piece band was called The Ashes.
The Ashes were able to obtain a steady gig at the Waleback club in Santa Monica in October, 1965. Robison, only 20, needed a borrowed ID to enter the club. She went under the alias, "Sandi Moon". "Sandi" stuck with band members, so she was commonly addressed as such. She was later even credited as "Sandi Peanut Butter" on the first two albums by The Peanut Butter Conspiracy. February 1966 came, and with it The Ashes first single, called "Is There Anything I Can Do?" b/w "Every Little Prayer" on the Vault Records label. It featured Robison at lead vocals. Another single, "Dark On You Now" b/w "Roses Gone" followed with Robison on vocals again, but neither of their singles made much impact outside of Los Angeles. By May 1966, Dryden left to replace Skip Spence of Jefferson Airplane, and "Sandi" had to call quits in June to soon deliver her child. The Ashes disbanded soon after. Following the birth of her son, Scott Robison, Barbara Robison looked to return to her career in music, starting in September 1966. She, along with Merrill and Brackett, added two more members for their new group including drummer Jim Voigt and guitarist Lance Fent. The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, as it was named, was formed by the end of 1966 and was recording by 1967.
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy signed to Columbia Records after sessions with five recording companies. Robison was present and sang lead vocal for their several auditions. They were managed by Gary Usher on their first two albums. In total, the band produced three studio albums between the years 1967 and 1969. These include The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading, The Great Conspiracy, and For Children of All Ages. Their albums were examples of psychedelic rock but were largely ignored outside Los Angeles. Within those years the band went through lineup changes, but Robison, along with Merrill and Brackett, remained the core of the group. Like on all past material, Robison contributed vocals to the studio recordings.
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy charted once on the Billboard Hot 100 with their single "It's A Happening Thing", which featured Robison sharing vocals in harmonies. It was associated with the flower power era and charted number 93 nationally. This single appeared on their debut album, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading, in 1967. The album itself peaked at number 196, nationally. Although the band never charted again nationally, tracks like "Too Many Do", which featured Robison, were historical for being one of the first songs to receive airplay even though it was beyond the three-minute conventional track length.
Live performances for Robison and the band were opposite to that of their debut album. The group would prolong their songs with guitar solos and they proved to be more experimentally psychedelic. In venues like the Whisky a Go Go and the Fillmore Auditorium, the band opened for groups like Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane. Live performances proved to be the highlight of the band for the rest of their existence. Robison and her bandmates, however, only ever became a local Los Angeles interest and they broke up in 1970.
Later in the year 1970, Robison was involved in multiple soundtracks for movies. Her most prominent work came with her providing backing vocals on four tracks for the soundtrack of the musical melodrama, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. She was included on "Find It", "Sweet Talkin' Candyman", "Come With The Gentle People", and "Look Up At The Bottom". Additional work was completed by Robison along with Brackett and Merrill on the 1971 film Jud. It was the first time the ex-bandmates began performing together since the band disbanded. While she was working on her soundtrack commitments, Robison joined the Los Angeles counterculture-inspired musical production, Hair. Hair was critically acclaimed and controversial for its profanity, nudity, and the depiction of the use of illegal drugs. She performed in lead roles for an 18-month stint. Robison continued to be involved in sessions of Hair even after she and Merrill began performing as a duo in local clubs.
In September 1971, Robison along with Merrill and Brackett joined a cover band named Froggy. The group was situated in Pasadena, California in a club called the Handlebar club. Returning from jam sessions in early 1972, Robison became seriously injured in a car crash. She was unconscious for four days, but still was able returned in less than a month to perform with the band again. Robison moved to Glendora, California and formed a band called Rush and began touring in state and in Arizona in mid 1973. This band included a keyboardist by the name of Ivan Jean. After Rush dissolved, the two became a duo who toured in clubs across the country for years to come.
On April 6, 1988, Robison was performing in Butte, Montana. During her concert, she fell ill and was transported to a hospital in Billings, Montana. Robison did not recover, and died on April 22, 1988 from toxic shock poisoning at the age of 42.
In 2014, Al Brackett self-released a compilation album entitled Barbara. The album is a tribute to Robison's career in the years 1966 to 1970 with and without The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.
The Young Swingers"Love Her Everyday" b/w "Or Else You'll Cry"
"Wind's Up High" b/w "Let's Take Our Love"
The Ashes"Is There Anything I Can Do?" b/w "Every Little Prayer"
"Dark on You Now" b/w "Roses Gone"
The Peanut Butter ConspiracyThe Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading - 1967
The Great Conspiracy - 1967
For Children of All Ages - 1969
PosthumousSpreading from the Ashes - 2005
Living Dream - The Best of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy - 2005
Barbara - 2014