Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Get on Down With Bobby Bland: Swing Out!

Bobby "Blue" Bland - Dust Got In Daddy's Eyes

A major component of the magic that graced Bobby Bland's numerous hits of the '60s was the soulful yet jazzy stylings of Bland's band, which was led by Joe Scott (who was also the band's principal arranger and was probably Bland's uncredited record producer) and included guitarist Wayne Bennett and future J.B.'s drummer John "Jabo" Starks. The band's mix of jazzy horn charts, strong rhythm and Bennett's deft guitar work (especially on slow blues like "Stormy Monday") was phenomenal, and they worked with Bland in the studio and on live dates until the late '60s, when Bland's drinking became too much of a burden (fortuantely, Bland would overcome the bottle in the '70s). A great depiction of the band and Bland's stage show appears in Charles Keil's Urban Blues, a book I heartily recommend.

The 1965 hit "Dust Got In Daddy's Eyes" is a great example of the Joe Scott sound. Over a strong shuffle groove the horns lay down great riffs while Bland explores the "man ain't supposed to cry" lyric. The "sepia Sinatra" moniker often used for Bland seems very appropriate here. It's a great tune.

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