I Pity the Fool
Performed by Bobby Blue Bland. Written by Deadric Malone.
If you don’t play an instrument and you don’t write songs, you better be able to sing. Bobby Blue Bland is a singer who more than earns his keep with his voice. He recorded “I Pity the Fool” on his seminal album from 1962, Two Steps from the Blues; the song rose to number one on the R&B charts and even made a dent on the pop charts.
What mastery we hear on this song: the production, the musicianship and the singing blend to form a sonic dynamo. The drums set the beat matched by a pulsing bass and masterful guitar work provided by Wayne Bennett who carries a BB King-influenced riff throughout the song. The performance starts quiet and small, as if the singer is curled up within himself, though as he goes on, the voices opens out and the music grows. We get horns (trumpets, tenor and baritone saxes and a slide trombone) and the tinkling of a piano. And that voice, soaked in hurt and maybe bourbon, raised on gospel and the blues, but now it’s something new altogether, call it soul or rhythm and blues, “I pity the fool that falls in love with you.”