Archive for the Bobby “Blue” BLAND Category

Bobby "Blue" BLAND – Two Steps From the Blues 1960

Posted in BLUES, Bobby "Blue" BLAND on November 23, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Bobby “Blue” BLAND – Two Steps From the Blues 1960
2001 Issue.


Without a doubt, Two Steps from the Blues is the definitive Bobby “Blue” Bland album and one of the great records in electric blues and soul-blues. In fact, it’s one of the key albums in modern blues, marking a turning point when juke joint blues were seamlessly blended with gospel and Southern soul, creating a distinctly Southern sound where all of these styles blended so thoroughly it was impossible to tell where one began and one ended. Given his Memphis background, Bobby “Blue” Bland was perfectly suited for this kind of amalgam as envisioned by producer/arranger Joe Scott, who crafted these wailing horn arrangements that sounded as impassioned as Bland’s full-throated, anguished vocals. It helped, of course, that the songs were uniformly brilliant. Primarily from the pen of Deadric Malone, along with Duke head Don Robey and Scott (among others), these are the tunes that form the core of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s legend and the foundation of soul-blues: “Two Steps from the Blues,” “I Don’t Want No Woman,” “Cry, Cry, Cry,” “I’m Not Ashamed,” “Lead Me On,” “Little Boy Blue” — songs so good they overshadow standards like “St. James Infirmary.” These are songs that blur the division between Ray Charles soul and Chess blues, opening the doors for numerous soul and blues sounds, from Muscle Shoals and Stax through the modern-day soul-bluesman. Since this, like many blues albums from the late ’50s/early ’60s, was a collection of singles, it’s possible to find the key tracks, even the entire album, on the numerous Bobby “Blue” Bland collections released over the years, but this remains an excellent, essential blues album on its own terms — one of the greatest ever released.
By Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide.
Bobby “Blue” Bland has his place in the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was honored in 1997 with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, yet never really seemed to get the same mainstream recognition as the likes of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye [2], and B.B. King.

“One month from the day I first met you, your promises have proved to be untrue. So, step by step I’ve been a fool, now I’m just two steps from the blues”

This is how Bobby introduces us to his album; accompanied by loud horns, piano and drums. It is also with this song that he sets the general dark tone of the whole album. The title track is definitely my favorite song of the album and probably one of my favorite songs of all-time. As early as the first minute you can already see why Bobby is considered a legend today. It totally blew my mind to hear a man sing with such a raw passion and emotion. I guess this what Blues is all about after all. Emotion, is such an important part of music, and especially an important part of Blues. Yet, as early as his first real album, Bobby puts as much emotion in his songs than an experienced veteran would and probably even more. His powerful vocals tell us the story of a man whose suffered the worst aspects of love and are some of the most beautiful things I ever had the chance to hear.

The music, although heavily overshadowed by Bobby’s vocals that grab most, if not all of our attention, is also really great and entertaining. Produced by Joe Scott, the whole album follows a really dark, heart-wrenching theme in which piano, drums and horns are reigning to make this album a true Blues masterpiece. The arrangements are brilliantly done and match Bobby’s style perfectly on every single song even on the saddest to the more cheerful.

Bobby became a much more experienced musician afterward and mastered Blues like no other in a matter of years and finally became the legend he is today, but he never really matched his raw passion that was on his first real solo album. Perhaps it was because it was new or because of his inexperience, “Two Steps from the Blues” still remains Bobby’s magnum opus and one of the finest work in Blues history.
By Jean-Guy.
Here’s an album anyone looking for great music should own. Has to be as good as any soul or blues album in the 1960’s. Not dance music. Slow, simmering, deep but smoothe music from the human heart, and the crisp accompaniment of Bland’s backing musicians is stellar and just punctuates the performances perfectly. The arranger and producer need some credits here, too, even though Bland and his band get first dibs on kudos. This is definitive Bobby “Blue” Bland. Make it your first purchase. Cream of the crop stuff. My favorite is “Lead Me On”, a recording of haunting beauty. When his voice was in his prime and good form, this is a relief for those having purchased too many albums that overpromise. This one delivers in spades (sic). You won’t feeled gipped here; that won’t even occur to you. For the newcomer to the blues and the connoisseur of great records alike. A treat of a great set of performances par excellence, and what songs too! A tour-de-force, to use a term we seldom use anymore, because they hardly make great records like this anymore.
This reissue contains two bonus tracks from the original LP sessions.
Recorded between March 12, 1956 and November 12, 1960. Includes liner notes by Bill Dahl and Dzondria Lalsac.
If you are unfamiliar with Bobby Bland, TWO STEPS FROM THE BLUES is the place to start. The album marked a watershed of creative bursts and commercial recognition for the legendary blues singer. The foundation of TWO STEPS’ blues was an uptown Texas blues sound, relying more on sophisticated arrangements, horns, and orchestras than gut-bucket Delta guitar heroics. Inside the lush grooves, Bland moved with restraint, crooning seductively, a tried-and-true ladies man. Which is not to say that Bland is all smooth grooves and sweet nothings. No, his gospel roots rise up like thunderclouds at precise moments, erupting to transform the album’s ballads into rattling experiences. The undeniable power of Bland’s squalls punctuates “Cry, Cry, Cry” and “I Pity the Fool.” His trademark mixture of smoky crooning and strangled outbursts has helped place Bobby Bland alongside the best R&B singers of the century.
Bobby “Blue” Bland- (Vocals);
Wayne Bennett, Clarence Holloman- (Guitar);
Robert Skinner, L.A. Hill- (Tenor Sax);
Rayfield Devers- (baritone Sax);
Joe Scott, Melvin Jackson- (Trumpet);
Pluma Davis- (Trombone);
Connie Mack Booker, Teddy Reynolds- (Piano);
Hamp Simmons- (Bass);
John “Jabo” Starks, Sonny Freeman- (Drums).
01. Two Steps From The Blues 02:36
02. Cry, Cry, Cry 02:44
03. I’m Not Ashamed 02:37
04. Don’t Cry No More 02:29
05. Lead Me On 02:06
06. I Pity The Fool 02:43
07. I’ve Just Got To Forget You 02:34
08. Little Boy Blue 02:40
09. St. James Infirmary 02:26
10. I’ll Take Care Of You 02:26
11. Don’t Want No Woman 02:41
12. I’ve Been Wrong So Long 02:21
13. How Does A Cheatin’ Woman Feel 02:38
14. Close To You 02:03

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Bobby "Blue" BLAND – Reflections In Blue 1977

Posted in BLUES, Bobby "Blue" BLAND on November 18, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Bobby “Blue” BLAND – Reflections In Blue 1977


This album is a cross over for Bobby Bland where he melds CW with R&B and although he got a lot of flack from contemporaries of the time it still,in my opinion, remains one of the best Bobby Blue Bland albums ever done.
By Sidra Miller.
Financial pressures forced the singer to cut his touring band and in 1968 the group broke up altogether. His relationship with Scott, who died in 1979, was irrevocably severed. Nonetheless, depressed and increasingly dependent on alcohol, Bland weathered this unhappy period. He stopped drinking in 1971; his record company Duke was sold by owner Don Robey to the larger ABC Records group. This resulted in several successful and critically-acclaimed contemporary blues/soul albums including His California Album and Dreamer, arranged by Michael O’Martian and produced by ABC staff man Steve Barri. The albums, including the later “follow-up” in 1977 Reflections in Blue, were all recorded in Los Angeles and featured many of the city’s top sessionmen at the time.
A1. The Soul Of A Man  4:01
A2. I’ll Be Your Fool Once More  3:26
A3. Sittin’ On A Poor Man’s Throne  4:06
A4. Intend To Take Your Place  4:05
A5. It Ain’t The Real Thing  3:21
B1. It’s All Over  4:35
B2. If I Weren’t A Gambler  3:58
B3. Five Long Years  4:20
B4. I Got The Same Old Blues  5:35

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