Sunday, October 21, 2007
The Gospel According to Bobby Bland
Bobby Bland - Ain't God Something
In the liner notes to one of the three great Bobby Bland Duke recordings anthologies, the author sadly surmised that the world was a poorer place for not having a "Bobby Bland Sings Gospel" LP. That's a position I agree with. Both Bland and B.B. King brought a strong dose of gospel style to their blues classics, and King even recorded some gospel material during his tenure with the Biharis in the '50s, which has been reissued. A Bobby Bland gospel album would've worked even better than the gospel records King made, considering Bland's masterful singing style and his C.L. Franklin-inspired "squall." Fortunately, we have today's selection to show that Bland could handle gospel material.
"Ain't God Something" was the flip of "Come Fly With Me" (Bland's last 45 for ABC before the label was folded into MCA) and, to be fair, it fits more alongside the "Mighty High"-era stuff that the Mighty Clouds of Joy was doing at the time than more straight-ahead gospel records of the '70s; if you weren't paying careful attention, you could miss that Bland was singing about God and religious stuff. That being said, however, Bland provides a solid - albeit very restrained - performance to the ballad.