[105] Bobby “Blue” Bland – Two Steps From The Blues

10 Apr

This album is, for me, all about what it is not.

Two Steps From The Blues

Two Steps From The Blues

It is not recognizable as the old-time classic blues such as that so recently explored in recordings by Blind Blake.

It is not comprised of catchy, memorable story songs such as those written by Doc Pomus and performed by Johnny Adams.

It is not a remarkable vocal showcase such as the one encountered when listening to Arthur Alexander.

In short, it is just not as good as anything else comparable to date in the first two years of this endeavor.

Nothing here ever inspires me to engage – there is no moment of lyrical mastery, no expression of vocal passion, no evocation of shared pain.  Bobby Bland’s surname is unfortunately apt.  Moon describes his sound as “Soul Blues”, yet I fear that he is a damn sight more than two steps from either genre.

It may be that in attemping to cover so much musical ground, the result is stretched too thin.  There is at times a big band feel, at odds with the usually intimate vocals, the too infrequent guitar fills.   And when Bland starts to wail he disappears back into the sound mix, almost jarringly after his up front delivery for most of each song.

In fact, the orchestration and mixing actually reminds me of the earliest Rock and Roll recordings, only without the energy and enthusiasm of that revolutionary moment.

In the end, Two Steps From The Blues is not an album I can recommend, nor one I expect ever to revist.

Next Week:  Paul Bley – Fragments

Owned before blogging? No. (10 of 105 = 10%)
Heard before blogging? No. (16 of 105 = 15%)
Recommend? No. (86 of 105 = 82%)

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