The recent death of Bobby “Blue” Bland is the loss of a legend in a music culture created in America. My fear is that it is a dying era. Bobby Bland came through Memphis and connected with WDIA radio station in the early days of black radio. WDIA set the standard for the way communication and community went hand in hand. A blending of the blues, the church and the community was what black radio use to be.
In that era, Bobby Bland was turning out songs like “Farther on Up The Road”, “I Smell Trouble” and in the 80s with “Members Only”, “Take Off Your Shoes”, “Angel” and many more. There was a collaboration with B.B. King and those two set another standard and many artist of other music cultures have sampled, stolen and used Bobby’s music. Something that appears to fading with every moment is the “BLUES”. I was so glad to see The BET Awards acknowledge Bobby Bland and as I sat with a group of people , a 23 year old ask “Who is Bobby Bland?”. Thus it lets me know that the blues is fading.
There are those of us who remember all of the Blue Monday shows at The Longhorn Ball Room and now that hall sets empty on Monday nights. Thank GOD for places like R.L. Blues Palace in South Dallas that still maintains the legend of blues on Friday and Saturday nights and it’s one of the few places where the Blues is still celebrated. Although we all live with the blues from time to time, there are few artist who appear interested in carrying the torch.
Names like, Albert King, Junior Wells, Z.Z Hill, Muddy Waters and so many others are fading fast. So as Bobby Bland past recently, just another memory of the past and the blues continues to fade. Where are the places where you can still go and hear “The Blues”? Where are the young artist getting a recording studio to create “The Blues” of today?
Why must a great era come to an end? Just as the dinosaur faded, could “The Blues” be headed down that same path? Is there still an interest in the blues ?
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