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Bobby "Blue" Bland
@ First Avenue, 11/12/98
By Ray Stiles

Bobby "Blue" Bland
Photo © 1998 by Steve Felling.
All rights reserved
I never could understand that weird snort Bobby "Blue" Bland uses that seems to drive woman crazy. They were certainly eating it up at Bland's recent show in the Twin Cities however. The house was packed and Bobby was decked out in his all black suit with white turtleneck shirt. He was either sitting on the barstool he had on stage or up walking about tossing his microphone chord and sounding in mighty good form. His crooning blues vocals are still some of the sweetest you will find and he was loving the adulation the crowd was showing. His band consisted of a four piece horn section with one trumpet and three saxophones, guitar, bass, TWO drums and a bodyguard decked out in red who seemed to be courting to royalty.

Bland, a contemporary of B.B. King, came out of the Memphis Beale Street blues scene during the 1950's and developed a distinctive, supple blues-soul delivery that was often punctuated with guttural growls and his trademark snort. He still has that magic touch and this night his smooth, velvety vocals seemed to glide over the songs bringing the audience under an almost hypnotic spell. Bland's suave vocal stylings fall somewhere between blues, pop and soul and continue to enchant audiences whenever he tours.

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