Bobby Blue Bland, RIP

Ever since I first heard him on “Good Morning, Blues,” an early morning radio show in Atlanta, Bobby Blue Bland (who died at 83 on Sunday) has always been to me the quintessence of rhythm and blues. That voice! A shout that croons, a croon that shouts! A scream in a tuxedo. Like all the great American voices, it mixed everything together, not just blues and gospel, but country and jazz. My favorite of his songs: “Ain’t Nothin’ You Can Do.”

“I’d like to be remembered as just a good old country boy that did his best to give us something to listen to and help them through a lot of sad moments, happy moments, whatever,” he once said. “Whatever moments you get of happiness, use it up, you know, if you can, because it don’t come that often.”

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