Q&A with Florida-based Beautiful Bobby Blackmon, electric Southern Soul, Gospel, Delta, Memphis, and Chicago Blues

"Music is the best communication method there is. As James Taylor would sing, "You've Got A Friend" and that friend is a musician."

Beautiful Bobby Blackmon:

Contemporary Soul Blues

Beautiful Bobby Blackmon appears with his B3 Blues Band and as a Solo artist at venues throughout the state of Florida. He has opened for BB King in 2010 & Buddy Guy in 2008. He is originally from Athens, Texas which is about 75 miles East of Dallas. He has 4 CDs on the market and his music can be heard on Spotify, Pandora, ITunes, Amazon, etc. His show is high energy & danceable soul blues music that you do not wanna miss. Blackmon will showcase a variety of rock and roll and rhythm and blues paired up with electric, Southern, soul, gospel, delta, Memphis, and Chicago blues sounds.

(Photo: Beautiful Bobby Blackmon)

Bobby has opened for ZZ Hill, Jimmy Reed, Johnny Taylor, Lou Rawls, and Barbara Lynn. His studio body of work includes I’m Dialin’ 911 (2000), Throwback Blues (2004), Yeah Baby – Chillin’ with the Blues (2011), and his latest masterpiece, Travelin’ Home (2019), which was recorded with his B3 Blues Band.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Southern Soul, Blues and R&B influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I describe what I do as Contemporary Soul Blues and of course you could call it Southern Soul since I'm originally from Texas and now live in Florida. I believe that music is life and life is music...without music in your life then you don't have a life, You can take a 1 year baby who can't even speak a word yet and put on some music and they will move their body to the music.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?

My sound is on the funky side of the blues which is more danceable rather than playing shuffles all night. I have a 4 piece group which consists of drums, bass, keys and me on guitar/vocals. I remember when I was about 16yrs old and learning to play with older musicians around Austin, Texas, the older musicians would say, "Young man play something they know then you can play something they don't know like your original music." The songs I write are related to possible real life situations whether a slow or a fast song and with a phrase (the hook) that people will repeat when they hear the song.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

As a kid around 11 years old my Mom and Dad would take me with them to see blues artists such as: Fats Domino, Big Mama Thornton, Johhny Ace, Lowell Fulson, BB King, Bobby Blue Bland, Etta James, Little Willie John and later to see jazz bands. At 16 yrs old I asked them to buy me a used guitar and they did and within a year I started playing with older musicians around Austin, Tx.

"I describe what I do as Contemporary Soul Blues and of course you could call it Southern Soul since I'm originally from Texas and now live in Florida. I believe that music is life and life is music...without music in your life then you don't have a life, You can take a 1 year baby who can't even speak a word yet and put on some music and they will move their body to the music." (Photo: Beautiful Bobby Blackmon)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

When I first heard the opening guitar notes from Lowell Fulson on his song, Reconsider Baby, I was hooked. After that, Wayne Bennett, guitarist with Bobby Blue Bland became my idol with his solo on Stormy Monday Blues, etc. Years later I had no idea that I would open for BB King in 2010 and Buddy Guy in 2008 in Orlando, Fl.. While in college in Houston, Tx during the late 60's I had a band called Bobby Blackmon and the Blue Orbits and we open for Jerry Lee Lewis and backed up artists like Leon Hayward, Lou Rawls, Little Esther Phillips, The Purify Bros (I'm your puppet).

After College I moved from Houston to San Antonio, Tx to get a day job and on weekend nights I worked in a club called the Eastwood Country Club with a house band of about 7-8 musicians who would play behind any artist that came through like Johnnie Taylor, ZZ Hill, comedians, dancers, etc. During this time I had a little group on the side called Bobby Blackmon & The Soul Express. I recorded a song titled "She's Gotta Have Soul" in 1968 and it's still part of a compilation disc that's played for the Northern Soul group in the UK. I was also at that time interviewed by the Blues Matters magazine and I can't remember the writer's name, but I did meet him one time when me and my wife were on vacation in London. When this song was first released, I open shows for the Grassroots & The Yardbirds with Jimmy Page when they appeared in San Antonio.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Nowadays the light rock guitarists call themselves blues guitarist, i.e., Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, etc. Cars don't have CD Players anymore, so you don't sell many CDs anymore unless somebody buys one and want an autograph. I make a few pennies from play on Spotify, Pandora, Alexa, etc. My (Beautiful Bobby Blackmon) Cds (Music) can be also heard on YouTube videos. Covid slowed down a lot of gigs for me and my band - we are based out of the Orlando, Fl. area and had worked at the BB Kings Club for 2 nights a week playing to locals and a lot of folks who would come over from the UK, Germany, etc.

"Music can make a difference, i.e., Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready", Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come", ck out my song, "The World That We Live In" on my Throwback Blues CD. You can hear it on my website too." (Photo: Beautiful Bobby Blackmon)

Why was the Blues never a part of the pop/popular music? What's the balance in music between technique and soul?

Good question, mainly BB King was the trooper for the blues on the chitilin circuit but early soul music (i.e, Mustang Sally) came from the blues - rock'n roll shuffles (ie, Johnny Be Good) came from the blues. Soul Music was developed by using blues phrases and adding horns or violins, ie, Motown, Stax, Malaco... record companies. Country Music and Blues Music were cousins (listen to any lyrics but you couldn't ever call them pop music. Disco changed music a lot in the 70s - techno music - dance clubs, etc.

What is the impact of music on the racial and socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

Music can make a difference, i.e., Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready", Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come", ck out my song, "The World That We Live In" on my Throwback Blues CD. You can hear it on my website too.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I believe that can not be your only source of income for yourself or if you have a family. Two years after college after moving to San Antonio, Tx. I joined a pharmaceutical company in sales & marketing and put music on the backburner for over 15 years. I was successful doing that and moved into senior management. After many moves with me and my family I took an early retirement from Pfizer,,,, moved to Florida, bought a home, started a band and now I have 4 CDs on the market. I have lived the dream and I still love entertaining people. Pull up my videos on YouTube and listen to my music on my website, any the phone apps.

My pleasure sharing my career with you and others. Music is the best communication method there is. As James Taylor would sing, "You've Got A Friend" and that friend is a musician.

Beautiful Bobby Blackmon - Home

(Photo: Beautiful Bobby Blackmon)

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