Bobby "Blue" Bland

Greatest Hits, Vol. 1: The Duke Recordings

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This single-disc compilation cherry-picks through MCA's three two-disc anthology sets and puts together 16 tracks of essential Bland, starting with 1957's "Farther up the Road" and ending up with his 1969 reading of Big Joe Turner's "Chains of Love." It gathers up all the biggies: "Turn on Your Lovelight," "I Pity the Fool," "Stormy Monday Blues," "Call On Me," "I'll Take Care of You," and the transfers are exemplary. While it obviously leaves off a few of the early favorites -- "Little Boy Blue" is almost inexcusable in its absence -- this and its companion volume will be the best introduction for anyone wanting to explore the Bobby Bland collection.

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