Bobby “Blue” Bland 1930-2013 R.I.P.

Bobby Blue Bland

One of the blues and soul giants, period.

 By Blurt Staff

 Legendary blues/soul singer Bobby “Blue” Bland—aka Bobby (Blue) Bland, aka Robert Calvin “Bobby” Bland—passed away in Memphis yesterday, June 23, from “complications from an ongoing illness,” according to the New York Times. His son Rodd reported the news to the Associated Press. The 1992 Rock and Roll Hall of fame inductee was 83.

 Writes the Times in an elegant obituary,Though he possessed gifts on a par with his most consummate peers, Mr. Bland never achieved the popular acclaim enjoyed by contemporaries like Ray Charles and B. B. King. His restrained vocals, punctuated by the occasional squalling shout, nevertheless made him a mainstay on the rhythm-and-blues charts and club circuit for decades. Exhibiting a delicacy of phrasing and command of dynamics akin to those of the most urbane pop and jazz crooners, his intimate pleading left its mark on everyone from the soul singers Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett to rock groups like the Allman Brothers and the Band.”

Bland was also sampled by the hip-hop community, including Jaz-Z, who tapped 1974’s “The Love in the Heart of the City” for his 2001 album The Blueprint.

The man sometimes called The Lion of the Blues was born in Tennessee but got his start in Memphis gospel groups and eventually moved into the soul milieu, scoring hits throughout the ‘60s and into the ‘70s. He also enjoyed several comebacks in the years to follow, including a period in the mid ‘80s when he and B. B. King toured together.



2 thoughts on “Bobby “Blue” Bland 1930-2013 R.I.P.

  1. John

    ……Ain’t Nothing you can do…
    What a man. When Bobby lived in Houston he would bring his Cadillac in for service at Bland Willis Cadillac. My mom’s job was there was to go over the bills and collect money from the customers. The first time he went in for service, my mom told him I listened to his records. The next time he came in he brought in his album and asked her her son’s name. He wrote a note to me on the album and signed it. My son who writes for Blurt collects vinyl, I need to see if I still have it and give it to him.

    1. Fred Mills Post author

      I saw Bobby perform in the mid ’80s and it was like he was still a 20 year old – an amazing well of pure soulful energy. He will be missed!

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