BOBBY BLAND: MIDNIGHT RUN (1989)
1) You've Got To Hurt Before You Heal; 2) Lay Love Aside; 3) Kiss Me To The Music; 4) Keep It A Secret; 5) Take Off Your Shoes; 6) Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone; 7) If I Don't Get Involved; 8) I'm Not Ashamed To Sing The Blues; 9) Midnight Run; 10) Starting All Over Again.
No surprises, although, fortunately, the classic covers are back — there is no way Bobby could go wrong with his (predictable, but wonderful all the same) interpretation of ʽAin't No Sunshineʼ, or with the old Mel & Tim ballad ʽStarting All Over Againʼ, which makes here for a somewhat more optimistic and uplifting conclusion than last time's ʽThere's No Easy Way To Say Goodbyeʼ, and the funny thing is that one doesn't even have to listen to either in order to understand that.
Still, two oldies' covers on a late period Bobby Bland album is too few, because the remaining songs are again provided by his sidemen, and are not in the least memorable. Just like last time, there is exactly one «fun» 12-bar blues (ʽTake Off Your Shoesʼ), nice while it's on; and then, like every self-respecting old bluesman, Bobby commands himself a song that explains why exactly he is still hanging around after so many years (ʽI'm Not Ashamed To Sing The Bluesʼ — actually, a song like that did make sense in 1989, when the popularity of the blues was only just beginning to recover after a decade-long snooze; that said, it's not as if the song smells of any particular heroism or self-sacrifice).
Additionally, ʽYou've Got To Hurtʼ opens the album on a powerful epic-ballad note; ʽLay Love Asideʼ tries to echo Bobby's dance-oriented R&B grooves of the mid-1970s; and the title track straightens out a reggae groove as the band does indeed search a little bit to expand its horizons. Neither the epic thing, nor the dance thing, nor the reggae schtick feature any outstanding musicianship or musical ideas, but at least there seems to be a bit more emphasis on guitars and strings rather than synthesizers, and a bit more diversity, which would altogether indicate an upward movement of the curve. If anyone still cared, that is. Anyway, expressing the same idea in commercial terms — better grab Midnight Run for a quarter than Blues You Can Use for a nickel.
Check "Midnight Run" (MP3) on Amazon