Living Blues - 6/03, p.57
"...His murmured autobiographical asides sound heartfelt and spontaneous....The ultimate message is hopeful..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 4/03, p.1124 stars out of 5
- "...11 smouldering tunes..."
Personnel: Bobby "Blue" Bland (vocals); Vinnie Grizell, James "Boo Boo" Davis (vocals); Jimmy Johnson , Larry Byrom, Will McFarlane (guitar); Jim Horn (flute, baritone saxophone); Doug Moffat (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Harvey Thompson (tenor saxophone); Gary Armstrong, Vinnie Ciesielski, Jim Williamson, Steve Patrick (trumpet, flugelhorn); Charles Rose (trombone); Clayton Ivey (grand piano, Wurlitzer piano, Hammond b-3 organ, Wurlitzer organ); Carson Whitsett (grand piano, Wurlitzer organ); David Hood (bass guitar); James Robertson, George Lawrence (drums); Freddie Young, Jewel Bass, Valeria Kashimuri (background vocals); Reggie Young , Sam Mosley (guitar); Roger Hawkins (drums).
Liner Note Authors: Wolf Stephenson; Bobby "Blue" Bland.
Recording information: Emerald Studios, Nashville, TN; Malaco Recording Studios, Jackson, MS; Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, Sheffield, AL.
Photographer: Wolf Stephenson.
In several important respects, Blues at Midnight is what an album by a major septuagenarian blues singer should be. The production is straight-ahead and dignified, and very much in Bland's time-honored tributary about halfway between blues and soul, with plenty of organ and some brass. The songs are a little on the generic side, but they're suitable, lightly melancholy vehicles for Bland's subdued persona. While Bobby's voice sounds thinner and more weathered than it did several decades previously, as could be expected from a 73-year-old, it's still in decent, expressive shape. Where this disc falls down is in the repeated insertions of Bland's trademark tic: a full-on snort, just as blatant as someone gauchely imitating a heavy snorer. That might seem like a small thing to pick on, but if this were anyone other than Bland, no one would have allowed any of those irritating snorts on the record, let alone dozens of them. It's an unfortunate blemish on what's otherwise a reasonably respectable session, which leans toward the side of the blues repertoire that's sadder, winding down toward after hours. ~ Richie Unterberger