Monday, June 24, 2013

Bobby "Blue" Bland: 1930-2013




Bobby "Blue" Bland was performing live up until he just couldn't do it anymore.  He passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Two Steps From The Blues" is the best rhythm and blues record ever recorded. There, I've said it. Others have said it too, but I'll guess not everyone reading has heard it. You've seen it in record shops, referenced in music bios, and talked about in interviews with musicians the record has influenced. Most, if not all, has been covered countless times by artists like Elvis Costello and Van Morrison and as recently as James Hunter. But have you heard it? All of it?

(This post was updated from a previous post from January of 2012.)







CRY CRY CRY



I'M NOT ASHAMED






DON'T CRY NO MORE


13 comments:

Mark said...

Quite possibly one of the greatest albums ever. This one has been lighting up my life for decades now, and for decades it's been without peer.

Chris Swartout said...

It's on sale as a download from Amazon for only $4.99 Already downloaded it. As always thank you Sal! And Happy New Year.

J. Loslo said...

All I can do is agree. And the title track-- oh, man...

buzzbabyjesus said...

The Best R&B album ever is quite a claim. I'm going to have to check it out.

big bad wolf said...

most definitely one of the greatest albums ever. i pity the fool who doesn't hear that. (sorry)

A walk in the woods said...

Wow, this is timely because JUST YESTERDAY I was in my local record shop (one of many actually; we are blessed in Atlanta) looking at this very album and pondering if I should get it. Instead, I got a great, great, DAMN great 2-CD Bobby Bland comp. But maybe I should get this too!!!

Yes, I am one who still goes to record shops every single chance I get, and I hope some of you do too. Amazon is good, but please remember the locals! It will cost more, but it's worth a lot.

(sorry for the soapbox and THANKS for the advice on gettin' this one)

Big Jim Slade said...

Well, I have The Anthology, which has about 1/3 of these songs - it's always a treat. Fine way to start the new year Sal!

Mark said...

For those with only anthologies/compilations, this album's worth the cost of admission for 'Little Boy Blue' alone.

Dave said...

Just curious, Sal. Are you separating R&B from "soul?" For example, would Bland be fighting it out with Marvin Gaye or Aretha Franklin?

Sal Nunziato said...

@Dave

I was waiting for that question to come up. My intial thought is, "Hmmmm..."

For me, rhythm and blues is different from R&B. And soul is different from rhythm and blues. And...yes, this is a problem.

I don't know if I could give a satisfactory answer to this. I will say, if we have to categorize based on the actual words "rhythm and blues," I'm still going with today's choice.

4 Steps From the Blues said...

The way I phrased it was "The easiest (but not the most accurate) way to describe his music is to say that it is Sam Cooke's voice applied to Ray Charles' blues."

So yeah, that sounds a little bit more on the R&B side than the soul one. He can kick Marvin's but on vocals but has much less gospel in him than Aretha.

And I do believe that Little Boy Blue should be the standard by which all 'spurned love' songs should be measured.

A walk in the woods said...

I'm in mourning for this great one's passing today. Along with Sam Cooke, James Brown and a few others, he was one of the great voices of R&B.

Dave said...

R&B is my favorite style of music, and I lean more toward the gospel/soul side. Most blues singers leave me a little cold. Bobby Bland was different precisely because he did have the warmth and modulation of great soul singers. I came to him originally through his crossover hit, "Turn On Your Love Light," the same way I came to Etta James via "Something's Got a Hold On Me" and "Tell Mama."

I was lucky enough to see him in the 1960s at my college, and he let his singing do the talking -- he was the best blues singer I ever saw live.

Even when he sang R&B/blues hybrids, the results were startling, such as: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnCReQAf5bU