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. Itís about life. You get hurt, you get happy."
Born Robert Calvin Brooks on January 27, 1930, in tiny Rosemark, Tennessee (he later took his fatherís surname), Bland was nurtured 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 Billyís 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 Academyís coveted "Lifetime Achievement" Grammy. November 9, 1998, brought him The Blues Foundations "Lifetime Achievement Award".
Bobby Blue Bland is a class act in the music industry. The heart felt emotions displayed on each and every song truly deem him worthy of any award around. He simply says, "If youíve got something worthwhile, hold on to it." And hold on to it he has with his latest release on the Malaco label "Memphis Monday Morning" which is a culmination of the feelings, magic, and emotion that can only be expressed by the truly great, Bobby Blue Bland.
As an aside, Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison was an early adherent of Bland (he covered "Ain't Nothing You Can't Do" on his 1974 live album It's Too Late to Stop Now) and has on occasion had Bland as a guest singer at his concerts. He also included a previously unreleased version of a March 2000 duet of Morrison and Bland singing "Tupelo Honey" on his 2007 compilation album, The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3.
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