Bobby "Blue" Bland

First Class Blues

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Although it isn't billed as such, this is a compilation of some of the best tracks from Bland's first two '80s albums for Malaco fleshed out with remakes of some of his most famous late-'50s and early-'60s hits. Of the latter, the standouts are probably "Two Steps From the Blues" and "St. James Infirmary." Bland can't quite hit the high notes the way he once did, but his voice is still attractive and his phrasing is, if anything, even better. The more recent material ranges from "Members Only," with its great retro-60s soul groove, to the straight-ahead blues of "Straight From the Shoulder."

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