Tag Archives: January Music et al

Bobby Blue Bland

Bobby Blue Bland 

“Two Steps From The Blues”
Remembering and appreciating Bobby Blue Bland
January 27, 1930 — June 23, 2013

Early life

Robert Calvin Brooks was born in Barretville, Tennessee. His stepfather, Leroy Bridgeforth was also called Leroy Bland and that became Bobby’s last name.

In his late teens, Bland started singing with gospel groups in Memphis where he lived with his mother. Memphis is, of course, the home of Beale Street and Bland gravitated there and found other young struggling musicians such as B.B. King, Rosco Gordon, Junior Parker, and Johnny Ace.

His early attempts at recording were not only unsuccessful, but interrupted by a stint in the Army.  He returned to Memphis and signed a contract with Duke Records. Unfortunately, the contract gave Bland a half cent per record sold, not the usual two cents. Bland signed such a contract because he had quit school and could not read.

Bobby Blue Bland 

Success “Farther On Up the Road”

bobby blue Bland

Bland slowly gained experience and in 1957 had an R & B #1 hit with “Farther  Up the Road” which also reached #43 on the (mainly white) Billboard Hot 100.

It should sound familiar to many of you!

Bobby Blue Bland 

Two Steps from the Blues

Bobby Blue Bland

It was on January 1, 1961 that Duke Records released Bland Two Steps from the Blues album, which like most albums of the time was mainly a collection of previously released singles. But what a collection it is!

AllMusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine says that “Two Steps from the Blues is the definitive Bobby “Blue” Bland album and one of the great records in electric blues and soul-blues. In fact, it’s one of the key albums in modern blues, marking a turning point when juke joint blues were seamlessly blended with gospel and Southern soul, creating a distinctly Southern sound where all of these styles blended so thoroughly it was impossible to tell where one began and one ended.”

Side One

  1. “Two Steps from the Blues” (Don D. Robey, John Riley Brown) 
  2. “Cry Cry Cry” (Don D. Robey) 
  3. “I’m Not Ashamed” (Don Robey, Joseph Scott)
  4. “Don’t Cry No More” (Don Robey)
  5. “Lead Me On” (Don D. Robey)
  6. “I Pity the Fool” (Deadric Malone)
Side Two

  1. “I’ve Just Got to Forget You” (Don D. Robey)
  2. “Little Boy Blue” (Charles Harper)
  3. “St. James Infirmary” (folk song; credited to Joe Primrose) 
  4. “I’ll Take Care of You”
  5. “I Don’t Want No Woman” (Don Robey)
  6. “I’ve Been Wrong So Long” (Don D. Robey, Ray Agee)
Bobby Blue Bland 

One of the Greatest

Bland’s greatest financial success was during the early 60s, but he continued to perform the rest of his long life despite substance and health challenges.

He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992,  the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2012…

Bobby Blue Bland 

January 26 Music et al

January 26 Music et al

I Should Have Moved the Dial Sometimes

Listening to the so-called underground FM rock in the late 60s exposed me to a greater variety of music than had I continued listening to Top Ten AM radio stations, but even FM rock was light on the amazing music that jazz artists were playing.

For me, Hendrix and Clapton were THE guitarists. How could anyone surpass either of them?

I should have moved the FM dial a bit and found a jazz station where I certainly would have listened mouth-agape to Wes Montgomery. It certainly was not the Purple Haze or White Room I was familiar with, but my my my!

January 26 Music et al

Wes Montgomery

On January 26 & 28, 1960 Wes Montgomery recorded “The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery” at Reeves Sound Studios in New York City. The four musicians needed only two days to record all that music.

  • Wes Montgomery- electric guitar
  • Tommy Flanagan – piano
  • Percy Heath – bass
  • Albert Heath – drums

All About Jazz  critic Chris May wroteThe Incredible Jazz Guitar burst onto the US scene in 1960 like a benign hurricane, and it still sounds like a gale almost 50 years later....” Take a listen to the album’s opening cut “Airegin.”

Jen Reviews has published a comprehensive guide on how to play guitar like Wes Montgomery on its  sister site, Beginner Guitar HQ. It is completely free and you can find it here: https://beginnerguitarhq.com/wes-montgomery/

Let us know how you do!

January 26 Music et al

Fear of Rock

January 26, 1962:  Catholic Church Bishop Joseph A. Burke in Buffalo, NY banned the The Twist, from being heard or danced to at any area Catholic school or event. The announcement on this day was one of many in the early years of rock and roll in which authority figures were convinced that the music would undermine public morals.  (Bowling Green State University article) (see May 17, 1965)

January 26 Music et al

Walk Right In

January 26 – February 8, 1963: “Walk Right In” by The Rooftop Singers #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was a country blues song written by Gus Cannon and originally recorded by Cannon’s Jug Stompers in 1929.

Trivia: the song has been covered by others, among whom was French singer Claude François. It was not a big hit for him…

…but another song of Claude François (Comme d’habitude) became a hit for him in 1967. The very roughly translated lyrics of  “As Usual” for the first verse are:

I get up and jostle you

You do not wake up as usual
I raise the sheet
I’m afraid you’re cold as usual
My hand caresses your hair
Almost in spite of myself as usual
But you turn your back on me
As usual

Paul Anka heard the song while in Paris,  got the rights, and re-wrote the lyrics.  The song became, My Way.

January 26 Music et al

Rage Against the Machine

January 26, 2000: Rage Against The Machine was in New York City to shoot the video for its new single, with activist film director Michael Moore.

The band set up and shot the clip in front of Federal Hall in downtown Manhattan, drawing a crowd of several hundred people, according to a representative for the city’s Deputy Commissioner for Public Information.

After shooting the video, Rage, Moore, and a camera crew attempted to walk into the New York Stock Exchange, located across the street from Federal Hall.

New York Stock Exchange security officers denied their entrance (as was protocol)  and suggested that they head over to the publically accessible Visitor’s Center instead.

The band  got into a shouting match with the security officers, but the band and crew left. Police did not arrest anyone. (MTV news article)

January 26 Music et al

January 22 Music et al

January 22 Music et al

Sounds of Silence

January 22 Music et al

January 22 – 28, 1966: “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was the second version of the song. Columbia producer Tom Wilson had taken their acoustic version from the unsuccessful first album and added a bit of electricity by plugging into Bob Dylan’s studio band. Voila! (see Wednesday Morning 3am for more)

January 22 Music et al

Aretha: Lady Soul

January 22 Music et al

January 22, 1968: Aretha Franklin released Lady Soul album. Lady Soul was Franklin’s the fourteenth studio album and her second R&B chart-topper. The album had some of her biggest hit singles, “Chain of Fools” (#2 Pop), and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (#8 Pop), and “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” (#5 Pop).

John Bush wrote in an AllMusic.com review: “Appearing after a blockbuster debut and a sophomore set that was rather disappointing (in comparison), 1968’s Lady Soul proved Aretha Franklin, the pop sensation, was no fluke. Her performances were more impassioned than on her debut, and the material just as strong, an inspired blend of covers and originals from the best songwriters in soul and pop music.” 

January 22 Music et al

Annie Leibovitz w John & YokoJanuary 22 Music et al

January 22, 1981: Rolling Stone magazine’s John Lennon tribute issue published. Its cover was a photograph of a naked John Lennon curled up in a fetal embrace of a fully clothed Yoko Ono. Annie Leibowitz‘s portrait would become the definitive image of perhaps the most photographed married couple in music history. The photograph was all the more poignant for having been taken on the morning of December 8, 1980, just twelve hours before Lennon’s death.

Rolling Stone sent Leibowitz to take a photo of Lennon alone, but Lennon insisted on one with Yoko.  Leibowitz recalled, “…I walk in, and the first thing [Lennon] says to me is ‘I want to be with her.'” Leibowitz reluctantly agreed, Lennon told her on the spot that she “captured [his] relationship with Yoko perfectly.”  (2011 LOMOGRAPHY article) (next Beatles, see Feb 6)

January 22 Music et al