BOBBY BLAND: YEARS OF TEARS (1993)
1) Somewhere Between Right & Wrong; 2) There's A Stranger In My House; 3) Hole In The Wall; 4) Years Of Tears To Go; 5) Hurtin' Time Again; 6) I Just Tripped On A Piece Of Your Broken Heart; 7) Sweet Lady Love; 8) Love Of Mine; 9) I've Got To Have Your Love Tonight; 10) You Put The Hurt On A Hurtin' Man.
It takes serious experience, and a large pot of desire to waste your time and strength on something as strange as that, to track and mark down all the tiny mood fluctuations from one late period Bobby Bland album to another (and with a little less politeness, you could scratch «late period»). Being neither experienced nor desirous, I can only say that I vaguely suspect a relative fall back into the somber and the tragic on the appropriately named Years Of Tears. Whether it is simply an astute artistic move or the whole thing was triggered by something personal, I do not know. The important thing is, there's a lot of hurting to go through on this album, and, as usual, it is not being gone through all that convincingly.
Changes to the old formula involve... nothing — the most «different» thing on the entire album is the little old-school echoey arpeggio that introduces ʽSomewhere Between Right & Wrongʼ, immediately to become a nice, but totally ordinary Fifties-progression-based soul number. ʽYears Of Tears To Goʼ and ʽI Just Tripped On A Piece Of Your Broken Heartʼ (gotta love those titles that Bobby's sidemen seem to be generating for him on an algorithmic basis) are two more long, deluxe shows of the spirit, and the rest is more or less evenly split between sentimental ballads and angry 12-bar stuff (of which ʽHole In The Wallʼ, about Bobby's party-loving partner, is probably the tightest and the most lyrically suggestive, but, as usual, that ain't saying much). ʽYou Put The Hurt On A Hurtin' Manʼ has a poppier and, therefore, more memorable chorus but not much of a hurtin' atmosphere, despite repeating the word twice in the same title.
Other than that, the only thing there is to say is that Bobby cuts down on the snorting a little bit — I may be off, not having done the proper calculations and all, but it seems as if, on the whole, those animal noises have been somewhat subdued. Whether this is a sign of increased modesty, or just advanced age, I have no idea.