Bobby "Blue" Bland has been making records—fair to middlin' to blitheringly great records—since 1951, which means (among other things) he is probably MUCH OLDER THAN YOU. One of the few living icons of not only the blues but of anything worth a ding dang damn anymore, he could be dead before he ever makes it back this way.
Hey: It pays to be in the same room at least once with certain touchstones of meritorious et cetera—not all but some, eh?—even if, in theory or practice, they ain't got too much left in the tank. In the '60s I missed out on my only shot at seeing Bud Powell. Though his playing by then was already way down the tubes, I've always regretted never witnessing him just BE.
I've got no idea (sorry!) whether Bobby has even a thimblesworth left. The last time I saw him, in '76, paired with B.B. King for a "recorded live" gig, he was fairly jive and not even especially musical. At show's end, B.B. berated him: "We blew it, Bobby"—a line that didn't make it onto the LP.
But really, really, even if he's got NOTHING, literally, in the tank no more, better you should go see him than walking extinctions like David Crosby or Eric Clapton or (is he still alive?) Dave Brubeck. Deadheads, take note: Pigpen is longggg gone, but the originator of "Turn On Your Love Light" still breathes oxygen.
So go see him, y'hear?
Dimitriou's Jazz Alley. $21.50 adv./$25.50. 8 and 10 p.m. Wed., July 3 (also Fri., July 5 -Sun., July 7).