on 2 February 2004
By far the greatest blues ballad singer, yet criminally underestimated. Sweet, soulful and occasionally deep down and dirty, this is a great introduction to B.B.King's ex-driver. Renowned for writing albums, and not singles and fillers, this compilation flows effortlessly boasting the big (Cry, Cry, Cry, I Pity The Fool...) and the beautiful (Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City). Do yourself a favour, pour a bourbon, sit back and enjoy Beale Street's Best.
on 2 July 2013
This CD gives you a very good introduction to a criminally underrated artist.
Bland had one of the all-time great voices as this collection clearly demonstrates.
Included are many of his classic songs such as "Farther on up the road", "Cry Cry Cry", "I Pity the fool" and "(if Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't want to be right".
You also get some interesting tracks from his later albums such as "Yolanda" and "Ain't No Love In The Heart of the City" which wipes the floor with the Whitesnake Version.
B.B.King shows up on a couple of tracks taken from the 2 live albums he and Bland recorded in the 70s. Unfortunately they didn't use the classic "Let The Good Times Roll" but this is available on other compilations (or simply buy the "Together again..." album).
Some of the earlier (duke?) cuts sound a little rough round the edges and I initially thought they were from a Vinyl drop. After listening to them elsewhere it appears inherent in the original recordings and actually adds to the overall experience.
Bland recorded some great tunes over the years and a single CD will never do his catalogue justice. There are also many compilations out there, however this one is as good a place as any to be introduced to his music. Also worth investigating is "2 steps from the blues".
If you like the 'T' Bone Walker / BB King big band swing/ soul -fused blues idea, then Bobby 'Blues' Band and this superb compilation is for you. Bland has been an inspiration for a generation or two of blues -rock players such as this Eric Clapton and this set shows why. It's about his conviction, honesty and raw power as a singer. From the driving blues of 'Further on up The Road', to the depths of 'Stormy Monday' and 'Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City' the passion never lets up. Yet Bobby isn't just about intensity, he can be a beautifully restrained ballad singer when occasion warrants. He understands a lyric and so can live it out in his performance. He is that deflated suitor or unfaithful husband. Songs like 'I'm Too Far Gone to Turn Around' suggest that he has experienced the torment of guilty love.
Guitar players should listen out for Wayne Bennett- who although he isn't credited as he should be in the sleevenotes, supplies plenty of tasty little jazzy fills as a counterpoint to Bobby's vocalizing and the wailing of the horn section. He is a model of economy and melody, helping develop each tune with either some handy chord work or single note lines. He is never obtrusive but always doing the right thing in the right place, a rare talent indeed. Listen to 'Ask Me 'bout Nothin' (But the Blues) to hear how Wayne works his magic.
So, lovers of soul and blues should get this set - great value and great music, an unbeatable combination. Good sleevenotes and fair sound quality add to the value of what is a highly desirable disc.
on 21 October 2012
I cannot believe that I have only just discovered Bobby Bland- this album is now one of my favourite blues/soul album from all the albums I have collected over the years-it is truly awesome, and I cannot understand why he has been sidelined by all the 'big' names in this genre? I collect music from medieval, through baroque, to modern classical music, but I have always loved blues music ever since I was a child- but never heard of Bobby Bland! I've even worked with one of the biggest blues exponents in this country, in my film career, but this guys name never came up!
This has to an essential addition to any collector of blues music! Beautiful recording, clear, instruments separated and balanced well- get it!