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Bobby "Blue" Bland

Bobby Bland earned his enduring blues superstar status the hard way: without a guitar, harmonica, or any other instrument to fall back upon. All Bland had to offer was his magnificent voice, a tremendously powerful instrument in his early heyday, injected with charisma and melisma to spare. Just ask his legion of female fans, who deemed him a sex symbol late into his career.

For all his promise, Bland's musical career ignited slowly. He was a founding member of the Beale Streeters, the fabled Memphis aggregation that also included B.B. King and Johnny Ace. Singles for Chess in 1951 (produced by Sam Phillips) and Modern the next year bombed, but that didn't stop local DJ David Mattis from cutting Bland on a couple of 1952 singles for his fledgling Duke logo.

Bland's tormented crying style was still pretty rough around the edges before he entered the Army in late 1952. But his progress upon his 1955 return was remarkable; with saxist Bill Harvey's band (featuring guitarist Roy Gaines and trumpeter Joe Scott) providing sizzling support, Bland's assured vocal on the swaggering "It's My Life Baby" sounds like the work of a new man. By now, Duke was headed by hard-boiled Houston entrepreneur Don Robey, who provided top-flight bands for his artists. Scott soon became Bland's mentor, patiently teaching him the intricacies of phrasing when singing sophisticated fare (by 1962, Bland was credibly crooning "Blue Moon," a long way from Beale Street).

Most of Bland's savage Texas blues sides during the mid- to late '50s featured the slashing guitar of Clarence Hollimon, notably "I Smell Trouble," "I Don't Believe," "Don't Want No Woman," "You Got Me (Where You Want Me)," and the torrid "Loan a Helping Hand" and "Teach Me (How to Love You)." But the insistent guitar riffs guiding Bland's first national hit, 1957's driving "Farther Up the Road," were contributed by Pat Hare, another vicious picker who would eventually die in prison after murdering his girlfriend and a cop. Later, Wayne Bennett took over on guitar, his elegant fretwork prominent on Bland's Duke waxings throughout much of the '60s.

The gospel underpinnings inherent to Bland's powerhouse delivery were never more apparent than on the 1958 outing "Little Boy Blue," a vocal tour de force that wrings every ounce of emotion out of the grinding ballad. Scott steered his charge into smoother material as the decade turned: the seminal mixtures of blues, R&B, and primordial soul on "I Pity the Fool," the Brook Benton-penned "I'll Take Care of You," and "Two Steps From the Blues" were tremendously influential to a legion of up-and-coming Southern soulsters. Collected on the 1961 LP Two Steps from the Blues, they produced one of the classic full-lengths of modern blues.

Scott's blazing brass arrangements upped the excitement ante on Bland's frantic rockers "Turn on Your Love Light" in 1961 and "Yield Not to Temptation" the next year. But the vocalist was learning his lessons so well that he sounded just as conversant on soulful R&B rhumbas (1963's "Call on Me") and polished ballads ("That's the Way Love Is," "Share Your Love With Me") as with an after-hours blues revival of T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday Blues" that proved a most unlikely pop hit for him in 1962. With "Ain't Nothing You Can Do," "Ain't Doing Too Bad," and "Poverty," Bland rolled through the mid-'60s, his superstar status diminishing not a whit.

In 1973, Robey sold his labels to ABC Records, and Bland was part of the deal. Without Scott and his familiar surroundings to lean on, Bland's releases grew less consistent artistically, though His California Album in 1973 and Dreamer the next year boasted some nice moments (there was even an album's worth of country standards). The singer re-teamed with his old pal B.B. King for a couple of mid-'70s albums that broke no new ground but further heightened Bland's profile, while his solo work for MCA teetered closer and closer to MOR (Bland has often expressed his admiration for ultra-mellow pop singer Perry Como).

Bland began recording for Jackson, Mississippi's Malaco Records in the mid-'80s. His pipes undeniably reflected the ravages of time, but he endured as a blues superstar of the loftiest order, resurfacing in 1998 with Memphis Monday Morning, and five years later with Blues in Memphis. Bland died in Memphis in June 2013 at the age of 83. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Angel In Anguish: Deep Deep Soul Of Bobby Bland

1. Don't Cry No More

2. Don't Cry No More

3. I Woke Up Screaming

4. You Got Me (Where You Want Me)

5. Farther Up The Road

6. Ain't That Lovin' You

7. How Does A Cheatin' Woman Feel

8. I'm Not Ashamed

9. Sometime Tomorrow

10. I Smell Trouble

11. I've Been Wrong So Long

12. I Learned My Lesson

13. You Did Me Wrong

14. Turn On Your Love Light

15. I've Just Got To Forget You

16. I Can't Put You Down Baby

17. I Pity The Fool

18. Cry, Cry, Cry

19. Someday

20. Two Steps From The Blues

21. St James Infirmary

22. I'll Take Care Of You

23. Lead Me On

24. Don't Want No Woman

25. It's My Life Baby

26. Little Boy Blue

27. Last Night

28. Wishing Well

x

Track List: Unmatched: The Very Best

1. I Just Tripped On A Piece Of Your Heart

2. I'm A Blues Man

3. I Need Your Love So Bad

4. Tonight's The Night (It's Gonna Be Alright)

5. Ain't No Sunshine

6. If I Don't Get Involved

7. Members Only

8. I Just Won't Be Your Fool Anymore

9. The Truth Will Set You Free

10. Get Your Money Where You Spend Your Time

11. Second Hand Heart

12. Sad Street

13. When Hearts Grow Cold

14. There's No Easy Way To Say Goodbye

15. After All

16. Heart Open Up Gain

x

Track List: The Definitive Collection

1. I Smell Trouble

2. Farther Up The Road

3. Little Boy Blue

4. I'll Take Care Of You

5. Lead Me On

6. Cry Cry Cry

7. I Pity The Fool

8. Don't Cry No More

9. Who Will The Next Fool Be?

10. Stormy Monday Blues

11. Turn On Your Love Light

12. Yield Not To Temptation

13. Call On Me

14. That's The Way Love Is

15. Ain't Nothing You Can Do

16. Share Your Love With Me

17. Good Time Charlie, Part 1

18. Poverty

19. Chains Of Love

20. Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City

21. I Wouldn't Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)

22. Let The Good Times Roll [W/B.B. King]

x

Track List: Blues & Ballads

1. I've Been Wrong So Long

2. If I Hadn't Called You Back

3. Ain't Nothing You Can Do

4. Share Your Love With Me

5. Touch Of The Blues

6. Save Your Love For Me

7. Georgia On My Mind

8. (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right

9. I've Got To Use My Imagination

10. Lovin' On Borrowed Time

11. You've Always Got The Blues

12. Night Games

13. This Bitter Earth

14. Someone To Belong To

15. Never Let Me Go

16. It's All In The Game

x

Track List: Greatest Hits - Volume One

1. Farther Up the Road

2. I'll Take Care of You

3. I Pity the Fool

4. Cry, Cry, Cry

5. Don't Cry No More

6. Ain't That Lovin' You

7. Who Will the Next Fool Be?

8. Turn on Your Love Light

9. Stormy Monday Blues

10. Yield Not to Temptation

11. That's the Way Love Is

12. Call on Me

13. These Hands (Small But Mighty)

14. That Did It

16. Chains of Love

x

Track List: That Did It! - The Duke Recordings, Vol. 3

1. Reach Right Out

2. Lover With A Reputation

4. Touch Of The Blues

5. Building A Fire With Rain

6. Set Me Free

7. Ain't Nobody's Business (A.K.A. 'Taint Nobody's Business If I Do")

8. Save Your Love For Me

9. Fever

10. Wouldn't You Rather Have Me

11. Let's Get Together

12. Rockin' In The Same Old Boat

13. Dear Bobby (The Note)

15. Sweet Lips Of Joy

16. Baby I'm On My Way

17. I Ain't Myself Anymore

18. Ask Me 'Bout Nothing (But The Blues)

19. Too Late For Tears

20. Georgia On My Mind

21. These Hands (Small But Mighty)

22. Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)?

23. Playgirl

24. Gotta Get To Know You

25. I'm Too Far Gone (To Turn Around)

26. Chains Of Love

27. Good Time Charlie, Pt. 4

28. Since I Fell For You

29. Deep In My Soul

30. Yum Yum Tree

31. Sweet Loving

32. You Ought To Be Ashamed

33. One Horse Town

34. If Love Ruled The World

35. I Can't Stop

36. If You Got A Heart

37. Back In The Same Old Bag

38. Keep On Lovin' Me (You'll See The Change)

39. You're All I Need

40. I'm Sorry

41. Poverty

42. Shape Up Or Ship Out

43. That Did It

44. The Love That We Share (Is True)

45. A Piece Of Gold

46. Do What You Set Out To Do

47. Sad Feeling

48. I'm So Tired

49. Shoes

50. I Don't Want Another Mountain To Climb

51. Driftin' Blues

52. That's All There Is (There Ain't No More)

53. Gettin' Used To The Blues

54. Road Of Brokenhearted Men

x

Track List: Midnight Run

1. You've Got To Hurt Before You Heal

2. Lay Love Aside

3. Kiss Me To The Music

4. Keep It A Secret

5. Take Off Your Shoes

6. Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone

7. If I Don't Get Involved

8. I'm Not Ashamed To Sing The Blues

9. Midnight Run

10. Starting All Over Again

x

Track List: Dreamer

1. Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City

2. I Wouldn't Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)

3. Lovin' On Borrowed Time

4. When You Come To The End Of Your Road

5. I Ain't Gonna Be The First To Cry

6. Dreamer

7. Yolanda

8. Twenty-Four Hour Blues

9. A Cold Day In Hell

10. Who's Foolin' Who?

Comments

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You got hurt before you heal. Sometimes you never heal, Bobby. Hate to contradict you man.
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What ever happened to the song resess in heaven. I love that song
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Brilliant voice,never get tired of hearing his music.. love my Pandora..
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Bobby and bb king are back together in heaven with a young lady in the audience my grandma God bless you miss you 3.
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WELL I JUST TURNED 69 THIS APRIL AND I LOVE THIS MANS VOICE AND ALL. IN FACT I WAS LISTENING TO SAM COOKE AND ALL BEFORE I LISTENED TO ROCK AND ROLL. LOVE SOUL ROCK AND COUNTRY. MUSIC JUST TOUCHES MY SOUL.
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Love all your music
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gnyce07
Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Don't stop now this is freaky! But if you ignore this you will get bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 144 minutes when you are done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear
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Starting all over Again....... L e t ' s get it right this time......Ti m e is running out.
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So true sang it
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I grew up with this great artist among other unmentionabl e artist and I'm 47 . So sad to see them go. Sing on bbb.
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This music doesn't get old at all
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I like to old fork music because my mother use to listen to it
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"Gone crazy" fo real
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Remember when i was "Gone"
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OMG AINT NO SUNSHINE! My most favorite can hear it over and over and over.
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Love all blues no matter who singing them.
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Love you Blue- Best of all times in my eyes!
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Love love love the blue keep it going
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It reminds me of my younger days.
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Thanks PANDORA for keeping this music alive!!!
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Deeper than deep Greater than great .
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Keep, it to yourself. It's betten
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Go,do what you have to do.
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Both versions of this song are good.
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Love Mr Bobby Blue Bland Music. R.I.P
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There music takes me back and I love it..
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kkristians9
I really am enjoying their sound!
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We need to hear more lyrics like this love the blues
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You gotta love the we the brother bags
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The best too do it...��
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brian31514
Good music like this was a constant growing up in my grandma's house.
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bgbrendaj
I grew up listening to his music.
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"Roby Slim"

I came up enjoying me some Bobby "Blue" Bland!!!! They don't make'm like that no mo!!!!
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lamonte_snip e s
The Best Ever.
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apptrice
Sang it sang it honey..thank u ur voice was a gift!!
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Thanks for playing. Bobby Womack .May he rest in peace.May God continues on blessings his family amen amen amen.
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Bobby I love me some Bobby Womack .look at how many people made babies back in the day .lol.
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cpgroove15
The
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Bobby Bland was my Uncle Dennis' favorite and he even tried to make that sound that only Bobby could make! I would crack-up and now I am hooked on his sound and music just like all the OG's that knew real music!

RIP Mr. Bobby Bland!
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curry.dariou s 9 7 0 7
Gone Bland!!!!! What u say Bland!!!
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Igrow up mom would play his 45 in moring going school and we came home Bobby Itake care of you Rosetta
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Bobby blue bland ..i miss you and. Iloveyou
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I just love this man's singing, I grew up listing to my mom and dad, uncle and aunt playing his music. R.I.P., Uncle Bobby!
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I can remember when Bobby and BB hit Cleveland OH I would get my mom and take her to the show we did not miss to many of their visits because we knew that we was going to be entertained. I know Heaven is being entertained now by this duel. RIP
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My Father loves his music
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Sometimes you just have the blues
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Love Bobby Bland
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Gone but not forgotten
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Nice blues song
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Just pure blues you have to love it.
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