For most blues artists, the recording studio and the stage yield very different results. Bobby "Blue" Bland is the consummate professional in the studio, delivering a truckload of classic performances over the second half of the 20th Century. However, live, an intoxicating interplay occurs between Bland and his band, and between Bland and his audience.
REALLY THE BLUES captures a fiery performance, replete with a full band. The fidelity is clear even though this was not a multi-track live recording; a couple of well-place mics captured the excitement. Bland stretches out the material starting with the second song of the night, as "I'll Take Care Of You" ebbs and flows like the powerful and unstoppable river it is. His growling on "I Pity The Fool" is borne out of the fervor of the moment, and the temperature of the whole room seems heated up a few more degrees. By the time of the closing encore rendition of "St. James Infirmary," Bland has converted the audience over to his church of the blues.