Image for Bobby Bland: Two Steps from the BluesNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 1 hour

Documentary telling the story of the life and music of Bobby 'Blue' Bland, one of America's classic vocalists, listed high in Rolling Stone magazine's Top 100 greatest voices and admired by Elvis Presley, Van Morrison and Mick Hucknall among others.

In 1947, Bland's mother brought her son from the country town of Rosemark to Memphis in search of a better life. A year later, Gladys Presley and her son made a similar journey from neighbouring Tupelo. At that time, Memphis was a musical melting pot and BB King reports that 'everyone who was anyone' turned up there sooner or later. Bland offered his services as a driver, but soon secured a spot singing with King's band, while the young Elvis hung around Beale Street taking it all in.

The film traces Bobby's musical path from its gospel roots, through jazz and into the blues, which he infused with a unique sophistication, becoming a major singing star in black America in the 50s and 60s. His songs were covered by the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead and many others, and drummer Jab'o Starks recalls recording classic tracks like Stormy Monday, with which Bobby achieved great chart success.

Contributors include Van Morrison, Quincy Jones, BB King, Mick Hucknall, Dan Penn and Grammy nominee Susan Tedeschi.

Last on

Sat 13 Jul 2013 23:10 BBC Four

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Credits

Director
Paul Spencer
Producer
Paul Spencer

Broadcasts

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