Bobby Blue Bland – His California Album

Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound…

More Hot Stampers


  • With STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish, this is an incredible pressing and one of the few top copies to ever hit the site
  • It appears that virtually no one in the audiophile community knows how amazing this album sounds on the right pressing – it’s one of the best recordings of Electric Blues we have played in a very long time
  • Pull up some of the man’s music on the internet – what a rich, resonant voice he has!
  • With horns and strings, this heavyweight studio production uses top session players who bring Bland’s blues to life
  • “[A]mong the great storytellers of blues and soul music… [who] created tempestuous arias of love, betrayal and resignation, set against roiling, dramatic orchestrations, and left the listener drained but awed.”

If you’re a fan of BB King, you’re very likely to be a fan of Bobby Blue Bland after playing this album.

Check out Bland’s take on It’s Not The Spotlight, a song I first heard on Rod Stewart’s Atlantic Crossing album. I might have to give it to Bobby on this one.

What Amazing Sides Such as These Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1973
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Top Session Players

The players on this record display a level of musicianship sorely lacking from many recordings of the era (except of course on albums backed by session guys of this quality).

Larry Carlton and Dean Parks on guitar, Wilton Felder on bass, Chuck Findley and Ernie Watts on horns, this is the heart of the crew that Becker and Fagen enlisted to make Steely Dan’s albums.

What We’re Listening For on His California Album

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.


Side One

This Time I’m Gone For Good
Up And Down World
It’s Not The Spotlight
(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right
Goin’ Down Slow

Side Two

The Right Place At The Right Time
Help Me Through The Day
Where Baby Went
Friday The 13th Child
I’ve Got To Use My Imagination

AMG  Review

And his first for ABC-Dunhill in 1973 after more than two decades with Duke (Robey’s still represented, though, under his songwriting alias of Deadric Malone on four cuts, including the album’s biggest hit, “This Time I’m Gone for Good”). Producer Steve Barri contemporized Bland by having him cover Leon Russell’s “Help Me Make It Through the Day,” Luther Ingram’s “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right,” and Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination.”

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