Bobby Bland

 

 

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Everyone has their favourite artists and Bobby Bland is undoubtedly the Primer's, at least in the R&B idiom.
Undeniably one of the great blues vocalists of all time, rather like B.B. King he has straddled the charts over many decades and recorded in a variety of styles. Always a blues ballad stylist without peer, he had little difficulty in creating the soul/blues hybrid represented by his albums from the 70's onwards.

There is still a tremendous amount of material available from his Duke label recording period, when he first consistently started hitting the Billboard and R'n'B charts - including any number of compilations  of which "The Best Of" is but one example. This is a single CD at a relatively cheap introductory price but Bland is worth more than that - if you can, try and get hold of one of the many double CD collections which are still available. Better still, collect the original albums from the period - most have been reissued and Bland was one of the few artists around at that time who put albums together rather than a couple of single tracks surrounded by second and third rate filler - probably because he worked in partnership with Joe Scott, a talented arranger and writer of much of the material Bland recorded.

One of the very best from the time was the album "Two Steps From The Blues" which includes Bland standards such as 'I Pity The Fool', 'Cry, Cry, Cry' and 'I'll Take Care Of You' as well as the title track.

When Bland joined ABC Dunhill, he teamed up with producer Steve Barri and a stellar set of session men and produced albums of the quality of "His California Album", "Dreamer" and, perhaps best of all, "Reflections In Blue" (All still available on CD). On each he proved himself a great interpreter of wide ranging material. He is still recording and albums such as "Members Only" and "After All" (on the Malaco label) are all worth hearing.