Talking about the everlasting blues …

Do you want to know just how powerful a song can be when it lands in the hands — heart and soul actually — and voice of the one person?

It was 1975, I believe. I was driving home to East Texas from Gulfport, Miss., on Interstate 12 just east of Baton Rouge. I-12 is one of those short drives that can be forgetful. It is actually an 85.6-mi. intrastate interstate highway that leaves I-10 near Slidell, La., and joins up with the Interstate 10. It might have been lost to my memory had I not driven back and forth on this highway and on I-10 so many times in the 30 or so months I was stationed at the Navy Seabee Base

I would come to my hometown about one weekend a month. That is, until I started meeting some folks on my own and would hang with. But it still was nice to go see the home folks.

On one of those trips, a spring day if I am correct, I heard the unmistakably powerful and soulfully sweet voice of Bobby “Blue” Bland. I had heard his voice many times growing up, listening to the 45 rpm records and LPs of my brothers. Songs like “Cry, Cry, Cry,” and “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do.”  But this day a particular song stuck in my head that day and there it stuck for more than 35 years until I found it on that great reuniter, the internet. I was reintroduced to this song about not the healthiest of relationships and not the best of outcomes.

I speak of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Yolanda.” I knew the name. I remember the beat and after all these years … And now, Bobby is himself gone. Dead at the age of 83. But his songs and legends will live on. May he know the blues now only in song.