Music » Livewire

Bobby "Blue" Bland

With B.B. King. Sunday, March 27, at the State Theatre.


Bobby "Blue" Bland
  • Bobby "Blue" Bland
If a man's appeal can be measured by the degree to which his bodily functions blur the line between sensual and disgusting, then Bobby "Blue" Bland is the sexiest man on earth. This 75-year-old can sluice his forehead with a finger, spraying sweat, and purée his phlegm with rumbling snorts, and the women scream exultations. That's no ordinary blues singer -- in fact, he's a soul singer, in every note the peer to Johnny Ace, who's credited as the greater legend (due less to higher chart positions than his death by Russian roulette, no doubt). Refusing to be caged by 12 bars, Bland has crossed styles as successfully as any 20th-century singer, infusing country, soul, growl, and croon alike with the deep gospel of his childhood. Sunday evening, expect soul at its thickest ("Little Boy Blue") and sweetest ("Wouldn't You Rather Have Me?") -- and, if you have a ticket for the front row, you might consider a raincoat.

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