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Soul of the Man - Bobby "Blue" Bland

Soul of the Man

Bobby "Blue" Bland

By Charles Farley
Series: American Made Music Series

Hardcover : 9781604739190, 330 pages, 18 b&w photographs, February 2011
Paperback : 9781496828149, 330 pages, 18 b&w photographs, February 2020

The first biography of a blues creator whose stylings influenced almost every form of twentieth-century popular music


Bobby “Blue” Bland’s silky-smooth vocal style and captivating live performances helped propel the blues out of Delta juke joints and into urban clubs and upscale theaters. Soul of the Man: Bobby “Blue” Bland relates how Bland, along with longtime friend B. B. King, and other members of the loosely knit group who called themselves the Beale Streeters, forged a new electrified blues style in Memphis in the early 1950s. Combining elements of Delta blues, southern gospel, big-band jazz, and country and western music, Bland and the Beale Streeters were at the heart of a revolution. This biography traces how Bland scored hit after hit, placing more than sixty songs on the R&B charts throughout the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. A four-time Grammy nominee, he received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Blues Foundation, as well as the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame. This biography at last heralds one of America’s great music makers.


"When the erudite New Yorker magazine proposed Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland as an outside contender for ‘voice of the century,’ it bestowed contemporary credibility on a bygone age and almost its last representative."

- Sunday Times Culture Magazine

"Mick Brown applauds Soul of the Man . . . a sterling job."

- The Telegraph (London)

"This well-researched biography . . . is a must-read."

- Blues Revue

"Worth the wait"

- Sing Out!

"A praiseworthy contribution to blues literature"