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SOULFUL IMPRESSIONS | profile | all galleries >> BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND

IMAGES OF BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND BY KURT SWANSON AND SOULFUL IMPRESSIONS
E-MAIL: kurtswanson@juno.com
THE 2006 CHI-TOWN BLUES FESTIVAL AT THE ARIE CROWN THEATRE CHICAGO,IL

1992 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
One of the premier rhythm & blues vocalists, Bobby "Blue" Bland is second in stature only to B.B. King as a product of Memphis' Beale Street blues scene. In fact, the two performers have been inextricably linked over the decades, recording and touring together in a friendship that dates back to the early Fifties. Born on January 27, 1930, in the nearby town of Rosemark, Bland had moved to Memphis by age seventeen. He worked in a garage during the week and sang spirituals on weekends. At various times, he also served as a chauffeur for B.B. King and Roscoe Gordon and a valet for Junior Parker. In the beginning, he styled himself after the likes of Roy Brown. After serving a stint in the army, however, Bland spent the latter half of the Fifties maturing into a masterful singer and assured entertainer. His hallmark was his supple, confidential soul-blues delivery. As a singer, Bland projected a grainy, down-to-earth quality, punctuated with guttural growls and snorts that would come to be known as the "chicken-bone sound." Yet his voice was simultaneously smooth as velvet, allowing Bland to bring audiences under his hypnotic spell as he walked a fine line between passionate expression and exquisite self-control.
Working with bandleader and producer Joe Scott, Bland recorded straight blues such as "Farther On Up the Road" but subsequently evolved into more of an intimate soul-blues stylist. Bland's painstakingly crafted records featured his deliberate, resolute vocals set over a backdrop of dazzling horn fanfares, supple rhythm parts and Wayne Bennett's T-Bone Walker -style guitar. Beginning with "I'll Take Care of You" in early 1960, Bland released a dozen huge R&B hits in a row, eleven of which made the Top Ten. They included "I Pity the Fool," "That's the Way Love Is" and "Turn On Your Love Light," a song that went on to become an R&B standard. As a measure of his considerable appeal to black audiences, Bland placed an amazing 51 singles on the R&B Top Forty. However, he crossed over into the pop-oriented Top Forty singles chart only four times and never got higher than Number 20 (with "Ain't Nothing You Can Do," in 1964). To this day, Bland remains a fixture on the concert circuit, a hard-working professional who purveys a definitive union of Southern blues and soul.
January 27, 1930
Bobby Bland was born in Rosemark, TN
1957
Bobby "Blue" Bland hits #1 on the R&B chart with "Farther On Up the Road." The single is released on Duke Records.
1959
Bobby "Blue" Bland hits #2 on the R&B chart with the Duke Records release "I'll Take Care of You."
1961
Bobby "Blue" Bland hits #1 on the R&B chart with "I Pity the Fool" and #2 on the R&B chart with "Don't Cry No More".
January 27, 1962
Bobby "Blue" Bland hits #2 on the R&B chart and #28 on the pop chart with "Turn On Your Love Light"
1963
Bobby "Blue" Bland hits #1 on the R&B chart with "That's the Way Love Is".~The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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