50 Essential Albums of 1967

From the Doors' debut to Aretha Franklin's first smash

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Bobby
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Bobby "Blue" Bland, 'Touch of the Blues'7/50

Bobby "Blue" Bland, 'Touch of the Blues'

B.B. King was preaching the blues to psychedelic kids at the Fillmore Auditorium; Otis Redding turned them on at the Monterey Pop Festival and made a quantum songwriting leap in the folk-soul majesty of "The Dock of the Bay." But vocal lion Bobby "Blue" Bland spent his 1967 standing tall and still, belting these 10 tracks of heartache and bedroom triumph as if he'd just turned the calendar page on his '57 smash "Farther Up the Road" and the '61 hits "I Pity the Fool" and "Turn On Your Love Light." There were hints of modernism: the Stax-like gait of "Sweet Loving"; Bland's heated exchange with a female vocalist in "Sad Feeling," suggesting the call-response dynamite of Sly and the Family Stone. But the best moments, like the immolation of Charles Brown's 1945 chestnut "Driftin' Blues," were robust purism – the reason why white fans like Eric Clapton and the Grateful Dead adored and covered Bland, doing his crossover work for him.

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