Bobby Blue Bland has created a sound utterly of his own, one that has placed more than 61 songs on the R & B charts. When asked about how he has attained such a successful career, the always modest and humble Bland stated, "I just sing what I feel. It's about life. You get hurt, you get happy."
Born Robert Calvin Brooks on January 27, 1930, in tiny Rosemark, Tennessee (he later took his father's surname), Bland was influenced by a wide range of music he heard growing up as a child. Most notably, after his family moved to Memphis in 1947, Bland sang in a Gospel group, The Miniatures, where he learned his trademark blues snort by watching the spirited sermons of the Reverend C. L. Franklin, father of Aretha Franklin.
As years past, Bland drew up a passion for singing the blues. He soon worked his way onto legendary Beale Street parking cars at a place called Billy's garage, behind the Malco Theater (which is now the Orpheum). He would compete in talent contests hosted by Rufus Thomas at the Palace Theater. It was on Beale Street that he became a member of the almost mythical Beale Streeters, a short lived "supergroup" that included such notables as B. B. King, Johnny Ace, Junior Parker, Roscoe Gordon and Earl Forrest. On down the line, in 1951, Bland cut two sides produced by Sam Phillips for the Chess label. In 1952, he cut four more produced by Ike Turner for the Modern label. But it was later that year when Bobby signed with the upstart Houston label, Duke, that Bobby began to make a huge impact on the music industry. He released an impressive 45 chart topping singles. Some of which included, "I Pity The Fool", "Call On Me", "Turn On Your Love Light", and "Yield Not To Temptation" to name a few of the tremendous classic songs released on the Duke label that have formed Bobby Bland and his music into the dazzling entertainer he is today.
In 1985, Bobby signed with Malaco Records. He has released nine albums to date with Malaco. In 1997, he was the recipient of the Recording Academy's coveted "Lifetime Achievement" Grammy. November 9, 1998, brought him The Blues Foundations "Lifetime Achievement Award".He simply says, "If you've got something worthwhile, hold on to it."
This scribe differs to many critics - I like the soul stuff on Malaco - some of it belongs to the finest material he has recorded. I'm not in to Blues so most of the albums are only partly to my taste. Without doubt though, Bobby Bland belongs to The Great Voices Of Soul and long may continue to record.