Q - 2/93, p.87
"...the leanness of the instrumentation and the simple but clever arrangements deepen the pervasive air of plaintive, lonesome melancholy..."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.974 stars out of 5
-- "[T]his is Bland's orchestral soul classic, with emotion-wracked readings of 'Cry, Cry, Cry,' 'I Pity The Fool' and 'Little Boy Blue.'"
This reissue contains two bonus tracks from the original LP sessions.
Personnel includes: Bobby "Blue" Bland (vocals); Wayne Bennett, Clarence Holloman (guitar); Robert Skinner, L.A. Hill (tenor saxophone); Rayfield Devers (baritone saxophone); Joe Scott, Melvin Jackson (trumpet); Pluma Davis (trombone); Connie Mack Booker, Teddy Reynolds (piano); Hamp Simmons (bass); John "Jabo" Starks, Sonny Freeman (drums).
Recorded between March 12, 1956 and November 12, 1960. Includes liner notes by Bill Dahl and Dzondria Lalsac.
Digitally remastered by Erick Labson (Universal Mastering).
Personnel: Bobby "Blue" Bland (vocals); Wayne Bennett (guitar); Joe Scott (trumpet); Pluma Davis (trombone); Connie Mack Booker, Teddy Reynolds (piano); John Starks, Sonny Freeman (drums).
Recording information: Chicago, IL (03/12/1956-11/12/1960); Houston, TX (03/12/1956-11/12/1960).
If you are unfamiliar with Bobby Bland, TWO STEPS FROM THE BLUES is the place to start. The album marked a watershed of creative bursts and commercial recognition for the legendary blues singer. The foundation of TWO STEPS' blues was an uptown Texas blues sound, relying more on sophisticated arrangements, horns, and orchestras than gut-bucket Delta guitar heroics. Inside the lush grooves, Bland moved with restraint, crooning seductively, a tried-and-true ladies man. Which is not to say that Bland is all smooth grooves and sweet nothings. No, his gospel roots rise up like thunderclouds at precise moments, erupting to transform the album's ballads into rattling experiences. The undeniable power of Bland's squalls punctuates "Cry, Cry, Cry" and "I Pity the Fool." His trademark mixture of smoky crooning and strangled outbursts has helped place Bobby Bland alongside the best R&B singers of the century.