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Directed by Paul Spencer

United Kingdom 2009 60 mins. In English

Memphis legend Bobby “Blue” Bland (1930-2013) began his career with B.B. King and ballad singer Johnny Ace in the 1950s, going on to become one of the great stars in blues and soul music.  Along with such fellow greats as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Junior Parker, Bland mixed gospel, blues, and R&B with big-band backing to fashion his own sophisticated style of telling stories of love and betrayal. His style, and such hit songs such as “Farther Up on the Road,” “I Pity the Fool,” and “Cry Cry Cry,” influenced generations of diverse artists from Elvis, Otis Redding, and Van Morrison to The Allman Brothers and Jay Z.  Spencer’s film, made for the BBC, traces Bland’s musical path, drawing on the reflections of Van Morrison, Quincy Jones, BB King, Mick Hucknall, and others.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.