Archive for Bobby “Blue” Bland

Our Guide to the Essential Texas Party Albums

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2010 by 30daysout

More than once someone has asked, “If I wanted to throw a party at my house and I wanted that Texas sound, what should I play?”  Well if your house is in Buffalo, New York, then you can play the Goo Goo Dolls and probably half the crowd would say “Yeah, that’s Texas.”  Hopefully the other half would correctly recognize the Goo Goos are a local band from Buffalo.

And unfortunately that’s sort of the situation here in Texas.  This state has many transplants who really couldn’t identify a true Texas artist outside the obvious (Willie Nelson, Dixie Chicks).  So I’m stepping up to your service, a native Texan with a working knowledge of our state’s great artists, with a collection of albums made by our native boys and girls.  And true to Texas, you can ask someone else from around here and they’ll come up with a completely different list – and want to kick the ass of the guy who came up with this one.  So let’s party and forget where you got this list:

1. Texas Tornados Live From Austin TX – Recorded for the venerable TV show “Austin City Limits” in 1990, by the supergroup featuring Doug Sahm, Freddy Fender, Augie Meyers and Flaco Jimenez.  A brilliant gumbo pot of blues, country, Tejano and rock and roll with memory-tugging versions of Fender’s “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” the Sir Douglas Quintet’s “She’s About A Mover” and a rollicking “96 Tears,” this single CD spans the incredible breadth of Texas music.   It’s worth the price of admission just to hear Fender sing “Baby What You Want Me To Do.”  This CD is a party all by itself.

MP3: “Who Were You Thinking Of” (live at Austin City Limits) by the Texas Tornados

2. The “Chirping” Crickets – When four Lubbock boys cut this album way back in 1957, they had no idea how much this music would transform the world.  Songs like “Oh Boy!,” “Not Fade Away” and “That’ll Be The Day” made their writer and singer Buddy Holly a star and the latter would become a hit.  This is the birth of rock and roll as we have come to know it – written and performed by members of a rock band.  In fact, the record caught the ears of four young musicians in Liverpool, and in a few more years the world would change yet again.

MP3: “Oh Boy!” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets

3. Texas Flood – Okay, we can’t get too deep into the list without name checking the late, very great Stevie Ray Vaughan.  He was perhaps no more electrifying than on his 1983 debut.  Texas Flood was instantly a success, and one of the most popular blues albums ever recorded, but Vaughan was more than a mere blues artist.  His technique and ability on the guitar instantly put him toe-to-toe with legends like Hendrix and Clapton – and since his death in 1990 virtually nobody has even come close to Stevie Ray.

MP3: “I’m Cryin'” by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

4. Honeysuckle Rose: Music From The Original Soundtrack Yeah, it’s a soundtrack.  And yeah, it has the dreaded “On The Road Again.”   But it’s prime Willie Nelson, recorded in 1980 live as the movie was being made.  It has the hell-raising energy of Nelson’s best Texas roadhouse shows, as he and his rockin’ band charge through classics like “Whiskey River,” “Bloody Mary Morning” and the whacked-out anthem “Pick Up The Tempo.”  Guest appearances by Texas legends Hank Cochran and Kenneth Threadgill are a bonus, and I swear you won’t even notice the songs featuring better-seen-and-not-heard actresses Amy Irving and Dyan Cannon.

MP3: “Pick Up The Tempo” by Willie Nelson & Family

Continue reading

Review: “A Tribute to Bobby,” Mick Hucknall

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 19, 2008 by 30daysout

Mick Hucknall’s soulful vocals on hits like “Holding Back the Years,” “Money’s Too Tight to Mention,” and “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” brought worldwide success to the band Simply Red. On his latest solo disc, A Tribute to Bobby, Hucknall takes on the hits of Bobby “Blue” Bland and does himself proud.

 

Bobby “Blue” Bland had his first number one R&B hit in 1957 with “Farther up the Road,” the catchy and soulful tune that kicks off this disc. By the early 1960s, Bland had rattled off eleven top ten R&B hits on his way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

 

I can honestly say I have never listened to Bobby “Blue” Bland, or at least not intentionally, and that’s a shame because this guy is a great songwriter. Hucknall rips through impressive numbers like “Ain’t That Loving You,” “Yolanda,” the smooth “Cry, Cry Cry,” the heartfelt ballad “Chains of Love,” the groovin’ “I’m Too Far Gone,” and the infectiously melodic “Lead Me On.”

 

Hucknall brings an updated sound to these songs through his instrumentation, while staying true to the sound of the day. His soulful, smooth and powerful vocals fit these songs like a glove.

I’ve always been a little hesitant to purchase “tribute” collections because usually there are too many artists, many of whom I have never heard of, and the versions are usually not good. This collection is nothing of the kind. One artist, great versions, and a lot of soul.

 

MP3: Chains of Love

 

MP3: Farther up the Road

 

Mick Hucknall Official Website

 

Bobby “Blue” Bland (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)