Monday, 24 June 2013

Bobby 'Blue' Bland R.I.P.

One summer evening in 1982, at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, I had the great good fortune to spend some time in the company of Blues royalty in the form of a triple headed concert bill that featured B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and Bobby 'Blue' Bland. The three giants played individual sets, Hooker, beneath a single spotlight, on a bare stage with just his guitar and stamping foot for company, while King fronted a large, gregarious, well-groomed band, though in truth, it was Bland I was mainly there to see. I'd recently become enthralled by a series of his albums from the 1970's, 'Come Fly With Me', 'His California Album' and, best of all, 1974's 'Dreamer', thereafter working my way backwards through his catalogue and discovering his, often majestic, Duke recordings of the 1950's and 60's.

At the conclusion of the show back in 1982, the three legends gathered on stage to perform a short series of songs together, to rapturous applause. The highlight of the evening came a little earlier for me though, when Bobby Bland led his own modest band through a terrific reading of 'St James' Infirmary'. Here, to mark his passing, is his sublime 1961 recording of the song.

Two more great Bobby 'Blue' Bland tunes are featured on these fine blogs, here and here.


C said...

Great stuff.
And his 'Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City' has to be one of my all-time faves of that genre.
RIP Bobby.

The Swede said...

Mine too. Let's not even mention David Coverdale eh?

Old Pa's Corner said...

Great Post and great choice of song....what a concert that was...boy that is some kind of great memory.

The Swede said...

London Lee over at the Crying All the Way to the Chip Shop Blog, described Bobby Bland's voice as a 'mixture of gravel and honey'. Spot on I'd say.

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