Gary: “I was not a huge fan, but I am and always will be an R&B lover. I think it was just this one song in 1962, that got my attention, because I just loved it…
Video 1977 with B.B. King
1. Turn on Your Love Light/ Duke 344/ January 1962/ #28
2A. Call on Me/ Duke 360/ February 1963/ #22
2B. That’s the Way Love Is/ B Side/ #33 #1 R&B (2)
3. Ain’t Nothing You Can Do/ Duke 375/ #20
4. Stormy Monday Blues/ one of Russ’s favourites
Bobby “Blue” Bland (also known as Bobby Bland) (born Robert Calvin Bland, 27 January 1930, in Rosemark, Tennessee) is an African-American singer, and was an original member of The Beale Streeters. He released a couple of unsuccessful singles for Chess Records in 1951, and Modern Records in 1952. That year, Bland entered the Army and returned to music upon his discharge in 1955. His first successful single was “It’s My Life Baby”, showcasing a new, more mature sound. He was signed to the Duke Records label in 1956.
Bland’s glottal gargle sound was patterned after Aretha Franklin’s father, the Reverend C. L. Franklin. For all his rough and raw vocal projections, Bland was backed by a band that delivered some of the smoothest and most modulated arrangements in the blues genre. Sometimes referred to as “the Lion of the Blues”, Bland was as regal in appearance as his band was musically mellow.
His album covers tell the story, showing Bland beautifully manicured in the sportsman style, his large frame nattily dressed and dripping with conspicuous, but tasteful jewelry. Though not conventionally handsome, Bland had a certain magnetism that had a profound effect on his fans.
Guitarist Pat Hare contributed to Bland’s first national hit, “Farther Up The Road” (1957). Clarence Holliman was his guitarist for most of his 1950s sides, including “Loan A Helping Hand”, “I Smell Trouble”, “Don’t Want No Woman” and “Teach Me (How To Love You)”.
In the 1960s, Bland was working with Wayne Bennett, including “Turn On Your Love Light” (1961) and “Yield Not To Temptation” (1962); he was by then a superstar and world-famous entertainer. Other popular records from this period were “Little Boy Blue,” “I Pity the Fool,” “Stormy Monday Blues” and “Two Steps from the Blues.”
After Duke was sold to ABC Records in 1973, Bland’s career began to diminish. Though he continued recording throughout the 1980s and 1990s on the Malaco label, Bland never regained his former fame on recordings, but toured and became a major influence on the Soul blues sound.
In 1992, Bobby Bland was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.