Royal Blue

Forty years after his first hit, Bobby Bland is still the undisputed king of Texas R&B— and he’s not even a Texan.

AT SIX FEET TWO AND 265 POUNDS, with high cheekbones and a bulldog nose, 67-year-old Bobby Blue Bland wouldn’t seem to be easily overlooked. Yet there he is—a mountainous, curly-haired brown hulk in a sailor’s cap and a navy blue warm-up suit, fingers lined with diamonds—almost invisible in the corner of a small hotel lobby in South Austin where he has agreed to sit for an interview.

Bland’s presence, or lack of it, is in sharp contrast to the night before at Antone’s Night Club, where a standing-room-only crowd couldn’t take its eyes off the dapper singer as he whispered, caressed, and cried his way through blues classics spanning five decades. On the stage, in front of an audience, Bland works his powerful charisma: that of the man who is lost

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...