this CD today
Bobby "Blue" Bland
Blues At Midnight
all those doubters who thought that Bobby "Blue" Bland's best
albums were behind him, let me direct you to this GREAT new release by
"The Man." Without a doubt, Blues At Midnight, is his best Malaco
release since 1985's Members Only. This set is a showcase for
Bland's expressive and at times mournful singing. This is a collection of
11 real blues songs with not a throwaway track in the lot. With a staff of
writers such as Frederick Knight, George Jackson, Mosley & Johnson, Rue
Davis and three by Larry Addison, who was the writer of the previously
mentioned Members Only, a classic tune that reestablished Bland's
career in the mid '80s.
The opening track is Knight's "Where Do I Go From Here?," a ballad that
sets the tone for this outing with Bland crying over losing his woman ...
a great song with great production to boot. Just listen to those great
back up singers. The influence of recording back in Muscle Shoals is
apparent throughout this release. The mid-paced "I Caught The Blues From
Someone Else," about listening and relating to someone else's problems, is
destined to be one of George Jackson's best tunes. Mosley & Johnson's "You
Hit the Nail On The Head," that appeared on their excellent album back in
2000, leads us perfectly into Rue Davis' "I've Got The Blues At Midnight."
this track with its great horns should become a much requested Bland
classic. It ends with Bland crying out, "Willie, oh help me baby, I need
you," a call from Bobby to his wife Willie Mae. Let's jump to the sixth
track, the evergreen "What A Wonderful World," a song synonymous with
Louis Armstrong. Although I can't imagine anyone topping Armstrong's
rendition, Bland comes very close, giving us a killer version that will
also be played for years to come. What a surprise! An excellent Larry
Addision tune, "The Only Thing Missing Is You," leads us into the Z.Z.
Hill classic "I'm A Blues Man" that opens with a great slide guitar. You
know, it's the song that starts off, "I was raised up on Jimmy Reed,
cornbread, collard greens and black eyed peas. I took my first bath in
muddy waters....." Yeah, you know that song. Great stuff. The CD ends with
another Addison track, "Ghetto Nights," a biographical song with its
spoken intro and the clever use of police radios and a simulated 911
operator. What a way to close. You sit transfixed staring at your
speakers, totally drained. What a fabulous experience this CD has been.
Thank you, Malaco, for providing all those great veteran Muscle Shoals
musicians such as Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Reggie Young, Jimmy Johnson,
Larry Byrom, Clayton Ivey and Carson Whitsett, to name just a few,
fantastic back up singers Jewell Bass, Val Kashimura and Freddy Young, and
an audiophile recording that will enhance any sound system. And, thank
you, Bobby, for giving us a recording that we will treasure forever. As
with the Little Milton release of last year, Malaco seems dedicated to
giving their major artists the best songs, musicians and production.