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Midnight Run

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Album Review

When Bobby "Blue" Bland was recording for Malaco in the '80s and '90s, many blues experts asserted that he was past his prime — and they were right. Bland had done his best work for Duke in the '50s and '60s, and his voice wasn't what it once was. But the blues/soul singer was still capable of delivering a worthwhile album, and he still had a loyal fan base. In fact, the singer was a consistent seller for Malaco, which could generally be counted on to give him good or excellent material to work with. Recorded when Bland was in his late fifties, Midnight Run isn't remarkable but is generally decent. The production of Tommy Couch and Wolf Stephenson is rock solid, and Bland is soulful and satisfying on the amusing "Take off Your Shoes," the reggae-influenced title song, and arrangements of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and the Mel & Tim hit "Starting All Over Again." Although casual listeners would be better off with a collection of Bland's Duke material, Midnight Run is a CD that his hardcore fans will enjoy.


Born: 27 January 1930 in Rosemark, TN

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Bobby Bland earned his enduring blues superstar status the hard way: without a guitar, harmonica, or any other instrument to fall back upon. All Bland had to offer was his magnificent voice, a tremendously powerful instrument in his early heyday, injected with charisma and melisma to spare. Just ask his legion of female fans, who deemed him a sex symbol late into his career. For all his promise, Bland's musical career ignited slowly. He was a founding member of the Beale Streeters, the fabled Memphis...
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