Personnel: Bobby "Blue" Bland (vocals); Bobby "Blue" Bland; Clarence Holliman, Dean Parks, Gerald Sims, Milton Hopkins, Larry Carlton, Ray Parker, Jr., Ben Benay (guitar); Jimmy Beck, Johnny Board (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Clifford Scott (alto saxophone); Red Holloway, Bobby Forte (tenor saxophone); Rayfield Davers, Jerome Richardson (baritone saxophone); Joe Scott , Melvin "Lil' Son" Jackson, Oscar Brashear, Snooky Young (trumpet); Garnett Brown, Pluma Davis, Benny Powell (trombone); Ernie Watts, John Kelson, Jr., Jim Horn, Pete Christlieb, Tony Terran, Lew McCreary, Paul Hubinon (horns); Michael Omartian (piano, organ); Skippy Brooks, Connie Mack Booker, Teddy Reynolds, Johnny Young (piano); James Toney (organ); Wilton Felder (bass guitar); Ed Greene, Harold Potier, John Starks, Sonny Freeman (drums); Ginger Blake, Julia Tillman, Maxine Willard Waters (background vocals); B.B. King (vocals, guitar); The Anita Kerr Singers (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (??/1957-03/1976); Coconut Grove, Los Angeles, CA (??/1957-03/1976); Houston, TX (??/1957-03/1976); Los Angeles, CA (??/1957-03/1976); Nashville, TN (??/1957-03/1976).
Photographer: Richard Aaron.
Arranger: Jay Wellington.
One of soul and R&B's most complete performers, Bobby "Blue" Bland brought a jazzy sophistication and supper-club elegance to the chitlin circuit. His throaty moan was often tempered by smooth and smoldering backing tunes, a combination that, at its best, was a nexus for blues, gospel, R&B, and jazz. The Bland installment of the excellent DEFINITIVE COLLECTION series contains 22 key tracks encompassing the prime of Bland's recording career, from the barrelhouse blues of 1957's "Further On Up the Road," to the hopped-up shouter "Turn on Your Love Light" from 1961, to the moaning slow-burn funk of "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" from 1974's stellar DREAMER album. While the double-disc THE ANTHOLOGY is a more comprehensive set, DEFINITIVE COLLECTION remains an excellent single-disc look at an R&B master.