Robert Calvin Bland, 27 January 1930, Rosemark, Tennessee, USA. Having moved to Memphis with his mother, Bobby Blue Bland started singing with local gospel groups, including the Miniatures. Eager to expand his interests, he began frequenting the citys infamous Beale Street, where he became associated with an ad hoc circle of aspiring musicians, named, not unnaturally, the Beale Streeters. Blands recordings from the early 50s show him striving for individuality, but his progress was halted by a stint in the US Army. When the singer returned to Memphis in 1954 he found several of his former associates, including Johnny Ace, enjoying considerable success, while Blands recording label, Duke, had been sold to Houston entrepreneur Don Robey. In 1956, Bland began touring with Junior Parker. Initially, he doubled as valet and driver, a role he reportedly performed for B.B. King, but simultaneously began asserting his characteristic vocal...
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