For Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, there IS love in the heart of the city

newsroom@tri-statedefender.com | 6/27/2013, 2:43 a.m.

Bland's son, Rodd, told CNN that failing health had forced his dad off the stage earlier this year.

"He had a hole in his stomach that had become tumorous, and it was emptying into his bloodstream." He said Bland passed away from natural causes at his home in Germantown.

"He was in my arms," his son said. "But I'm not going to lie. I could have used at least 20 more years."

Many credit Bland with helping to usher the blues into the modern era. His "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" was sampled on Jay-Z's 2001 album, "The Blueprint."

"He never b**ched about not getting his due," said his son, who formerly was a drummer in his father's band. "When I took him to Beale Street for ribs and catfish, fans would come up to him. He was always courteous, polite and kind. And humble. That's what I admired."

Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell, son of legendary musician and producer Willie Mitchell, told the Associated Press that Bland "brought a certain level of class to the blues genre."