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Let The Little Girl Dance

Billy Bland

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Album Review

Billy Bland's one big hit, "Let the Little Girl Dance" from 1960, gives little indication of his range as a performer. This 29-track anthology of his OId Town recordings from 1955-1962 contains a surprising variety of music, from blues and R&B — including no fewer than three songs about chickens — to soul and teen idol pop. Because of his hit, a number of the songs target dance crazes or are about dancing in general, but there's more to Bland than that. "Oh, You for Me" borders on rockabilly, and "Uncle Bud" has strong country elements, which only adds to the impression that Bland was either incredibly adaptable or his producers were flailing about madly trying to score a hit. Both might be true, but Bland definitely demonstrates his versatility on these cuts, and acquits himself well as a blues shouter and a pop crooner. One of his best pop ballads, the self-composed "You Took My Love for Granted," wasn't even released prior to appearing on this collection. Let the Little Girl Dance has all of Bland's chart items (most of which, other than the title track, were very minor or regional hits), plus an alternate version of "Let the Little Girl Dance." Collectables' domestic anthology shares the same title but has four fewer songs and a different track sequence.

Biography

Born: April 5, 1932 in Wilmington, NC

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Billy Bland had a one-shot hit in 1960 with "Let the Little Girl Dance" (number seven), a pop-R&B- early soul mixture very much in the same mold as records from the period by Jackie Wilson, right down to the Latinate "Lonely Teardrops" rhythm. Some of his other singles were in the same style, but Bland (not to be confused with the unrelated Bobby Bland) was actually a pretty versatile vocalist, also purveying R&B, Bo Diddley-styled rock & roll, urban blues, and dance-craze early-'60s...
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Let The Little Girl Dance, Billy Bland
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