~ Like the ripples in a pond, the work of one man spreads out and touches the lives of others ~

From The Soul of One ~ To The Hearts Of Many
Taylor Hicks "The Distance"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Two Steps From The Blues

People that don't follow music much assume that blues music must be pretty depressing listening.
Of course the exact opposite has always been true.
Nothing is more positive and ultimately more life-affirming than hearing a great singer work through pain and problems by singing to you straight from his or her heart.
~Taylor Hicks~

"Singing your heart out is not about what you get paid or how many people are watching you.
Singing is about passing something on and connecting with whoever is out there in the dark watching."


Taylor Hicks ~ "Georgia"

Taylor jazzes up his legendary "Georgia" for this performance at the
Pala Casino - Palomar Theater in San Diego (May 2006)
video capture by: Azgoddess
(Thank You!)

The Blues were born on Beale Street, and it was the home to famous blues musicians such as W.C. Handy who wrote the first blues song in 1909.
Beale Street is the soul of old Memphis.


Which brings us to a fantastic blues musician that I recently ran across by the name of Bobby "Blue" Bland.
He's been around for decades, so I'm late to the party, but thanks to Taylor reviving my interest in good music, I didn't miss the party completely :-)

Bobby “Blue” Bland, is an American singer of blues and soul.
He is an original member of The Beale Streeters and is sometimes referred to as the "Lion of the Blues".
Along with such artists as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Junior Parker, Bland developed a sound that mixed gospel with the blues and R&B.

Wouldn't you love to hear Taylor's take on this one, I believe it fits him to a T!

"Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City"
Bobby "Blue" Bland

Bobby Bland is a master musician with extraordinary staying power, for decades his evocative vocal style has taken the blues out of the barroom and into the bedroom.

If there was any justice, you would hear Bobby Bland on the radio at night. Especially on the car radio, when you were driving long stretches on highways that were new to you but looked familiar all the same.

Past neon cocktail glasses and buzzing vacancy signs on beat-up motels where patrons choose to park around in back and everyone is registered under some novel name.
(I could really get into a history lesson talking about the Lorraine Motel)

His is the music of desire and regret, gaudy and permanent, like a tattoo of some woman's name whose face you can hardly recall.

While Bland's singing owed something to crooners like Tony Bennett and Perry Como, the sound was rougher -- and just slightly removed.
It was, as one of his early '60s songs had it, "Two Steps From the Blues."

The cover of Bland's 1961 album "Two Steps From the Blues" is a work of art, a Mondrian (Dutch painter) in black and blue.
It's a color photograph of the singer standing in front of a one-story building at the bottom of, yes, two steps.
His pants are gray, his shirt is black.
His coat is thrown over his shoulder, Sinatra style, and dark glasses hide his eyes from the sunlight.

A fair amount of his work remains in print (the best of it captured on three double-CD packages from his day on the Duke label), he still records for the Malaco label (a sort of living Smithsonian for blues musicians) and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1977.

That's it for today's music history lesson and a perfect ending for today's blog is this awesome complilation of Taylor Hicks' blues coming out to play!

#7 Soul Injected Blues
Boogie Board Best
Taylor Hicks Tour 2006
(Thank You!)

Today's cup of karma
"No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is left long without proper reward."
Booker T. Washington, American educator


May those that love us love us,
and those that don't love us ...
my God turn their hearts;
and if he doesn't turn their hearts,
may He turn their ankles ...
so we'll know them by their limping.

Happy St. Pat's from the 'Pond'


Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed that. Blues and Soul comes from the heart. A nice look at both artist.

Thank you!

tishlp said...

Wonderful blog, Bloom. Last December we went to see Van Morrison in concert and Bobbie Blue Bland opened for him. He had to be helped on stage and sit on a stool for the performance, but once he began to sing, you didn't even notice. He was dressed so sharply, in a dusky orange suit. I was so lucky to see 2 legends that night.

RagsQueen said...

Great post! I remember hearing Bobby "Blue" Bland years ago, and am surprised he's still with us! After reading your post, I need to make a trip to Beale Street one night to drink in and savor the blues, Memphis style!

Bloom said...

Hey Teri thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed today's blog.
Even though it was supposed to be a green day, I thought it time to offer up a whole lot of blues!

Tiship you are a lucky gal, that must have been an awesome concert.
I had read that Bobby has many health issues but that he is still performing.
I'm gonna have to hunt and see if I can find anything from your concert :-)

I was just telling Karin the other day I miss the days when all entertainers dressed-up, nothing is sharper than a well-fitting suit!

I think certain types of music call for a classy look in dress, course the type of venue would also dictate different styles.

I'd really like to see Taylor back in suits, especially when he performs in theaters and on TV.

Though right about now I'd just plain like to see him and I wouldn't mind if he was wearing his bunny-suit lol

Mandy one of these days I'm going to get farther than the Memphis airport and see the sites there!
It's definately on my list of places I'd like to take in some great music.
Finding clubs that offer blues musicians are few and far between here in Michigan, though froggie and I are constantly on the look out.
Who knows ... we might show up some time and take in Beale Street with you!

KarinP said...

Bloom, a very interesting "lesson" indeed. While I am not familiar with Bobby Blue Bland, Beale Street has definitely made my list of places to see along with the Nashville list.

I have never really been one who stays within one "genre" of music. When a song touches me, I go with it.

I can see how some people may think that blues music must be pretty depressing. I had been going back and forth with this blog for a couple of days. So, I listened to different songs and tried to see how each one impacted me.

Interesting thought occurred to me while I experimented with this "listening" party. The blues music seemed to take me to a place where I had perhaps "buried" some feelings of hurt and pain. Those songs can just reach right inside your soul and you have no choice but to re-visit those thoughts. It probably isn't such a bad thing to do from time to time. it is from those experiences that we often learn our greatest life lessons.

Thanks again for the music history lesson!

Pat said...

I absolutely loved your blog on the blues - I really enjoyed hearing Taylor sing the blues, as well being introduced to the Bobbie Blue Band. Thanks for a very entertaining blog, as always!!

Bloom said...

Karin do you ever find yourself singing along sobbing your heart out .... that is when I know that the words have touched me deeply.
It is cleansing to have a good cry, though I don't care much for revisiting events that have caused pain.

Listening to blues is an uplifting experience for me, much like a church choir singing.

I hope we get a chance to check out Beale Street together!

Hi Pat, so very nice to see you here today!
Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed your visit ... stop in for a cup of coffee anytime!

KarinP said...

"Karin do you ever find yourself singing along sobbing your heart out .... that is when I know that the words have touched me deeply.
It is cleansing to have a good cry, though I don't care much for revisiting events that have caused pain."

Bloom, I don't think that I have ever had the kind of experience that you describe. When something really touches me, I generally am not able to sing along.

I do look forward to our visit to Nashville. There is lots to see and hear there! Sounds like a wonderful place to visit.

Bloom said...

Karin I seem to have no control over the singing, it just bursts forth along with the tears.
I can't breath worth beans when I'm done, but otherwise I feel a sense of peace.

Nashville ... talked to Vicki today :-)