“The Blues Is Alright”
“Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you the ‘Baby Girl of Blues’. The one and only Ms. Bobbie BluAnn Brooks!” The announcer’s enthusiastic proclamation elated the near-capacity crowd inside of the House of Blues. They erupted into cheers and applause as the band began playing “Messed Up,” one of her biggest hits. She strutted onstage with a small, clear plastic cup in one hand which, upon closer inspection, would reveal itself to be half full of an unequal mixture of whisky and coke, boasting a majority of whisky. With the other hand she grabbed the microphone from its stand and with brick red-painted lips began belting out the lyrics:
“Well I think I’m ‘bout to lose my man.
You see he just don’t understand.
I love the way he makes me feel.
But listen up, here’s the deal
I got this fine brother on the side
And I love the way he makes me shine
I really wanna leave him alone
Don’t wanna mess up my happy home
But his lovin’s so good
It’s a crying shame
I can’t make up my mind
And he’s to blame
You see on one hand I got a man who loves me
And on the other hand, I got a man who sho’ nuff rubs me
So I’m stuck, messed up
Sick and stressed out
But I can’t stop what I’m doing
And baby’s putting me out……………………………….”
The bright spotlight illuminated her every move. Bobbie quickly captivated the audience as she batted her eyelashes, rocked her hips to the music, and raised her arms in the air. She wore extra tight, black leather leggings, black pair of dominatrix-style six-inch heels, and a white designer tank top. Around her neck hung a silver chain and suspended from it, a huge diamond cross. Her unruly afro of soft, messy curls shook as she bobbed her head to the music. Bobbie possessed hard-core rock and roll style, but her sound was undeniably down-home blues. She had often been described as a young Etta James and being compared to one of the greats was quite an honor for Bobbie.
Named after her father’s favorite blues artist, Bobbie “Blue” Bland, she was at the top of her game. Bobbie began performing professionally at the age of eighteen and was entering her twelfth year as a rather successful blues artist, frequenting blues venues and festivals throughout the country. This performance in Chicago was one of the many stops on her tour to promote her latest CD, Bluesday.
She was a beautiful woman, standing 5’2” and 150 pounds with full soft curves, almond-shaped black-brown eyes, pouty lips, and honey brown skin. She was so sexy that all of the men wanted her and so sassy that all of the women wanted to be her.
Bobbie finished the opening song and placed the mic back in its stand. She grabbed a black towel off of a stool sitting on the stage and wiped the sweat from her brow, then took a sip of her drink.
She took the mic from its stand, smiled, and with a southern drawl she said, “How y’all doing out there?”
The crowd roared in response.
Bobbie took another swig of her drink. “Y’all better be feeling great. Got me up here sweating off my make-up already!”
The crowd roared again and a man yelled, “We love you, Bobbie!” from within the crowd.
Bobbie winked at the audience and smiled seductively. “I love you too, baby! Come on y’all, let’s get down! Woo! Here we go!”
With that, she continued through her usual set of songs. To them she’d added two songs from Bluesday, “My Fault” and “Just Right”. She closed the show as she always did with her rendition of “Members Only”, a Bobby “Blue” Bland classic. This was how she’d ended all of her performances ever since she was a youngster, singing in small Arkansas jukes. Her finale always brought the house down.
When the show was over, Bobbie took her final bow, and shouted, “Thank you Chi-Town! Y’all were great!” into the microphone before strutting off the stage with the remnants of her drink in her hand. She left the spotlight behind and walked through the darkness into her small dressing room. Waiting in her dressing room was Clyde Morgan, Bobbie’s manager and her husband of six years. The small space was filled with the scent of his favorite cologne. Polo.
“You were wonderful, little girl,” he said, slipping his cell phone into the pocket of his olive green slacks. He stood up from a folding chair and kissed Bobbie on the cheek. “But then again, you always are.”
Bobbie tilted her face towards him and smiled. “Thank you, baby. Who were you talking to on the phone?”
He shrugged. “Oh nobody, baby. Just working out some deals for you. You know I’m always working hard for you, girl.”
Bobbie pursed her lips. “Mm hmm.”
She had long believed that Clyde was cheating on her but had never been able to find any concrete proof. Besides, she was crazy about him. Bobbie idolized and adored her father and in some ways one could say that Clyde was his replacement, although he looked nothing like her father. While Bobbie’s father, Earl Brooks, was a tall thin medium brown-skinned man with deep-set, dark eyes; Clyde was a compact 5’6”. He was pale brown-skinned with clear, gray eyes and sandy-colored hair.
She’d married Clyde shortly after her father had passed away, when she was only twenty-four years old. He was twenty years her senior and had been her manager for her entire professional career. It was Clyde who’d negotiated her first record deal and he’d been overseeing every aspect of her career and life ever since. It was an arrangement that seemed to suit both Clyde and Bobbie well.
“Well, I guess you know Sabrina got sick again tonight and couldn’t perform. I’m really getting tired of her, Clyde. You need to hire me a new back-up singer and get rid of her tail,” Bobbie said as she began to undress.
“Aw, baby. The girl can’t help it if she’s sickly. Cut her some slack.”
“Clyde, I been cutting her too much slack. Every other show she’s got some problem that keeps her from going on. I’m tired of her. She’s just unreliable and unprofessional. I mean, how many times have I gone on even when I didn’t feel like it?”
Clyde stepped behind Bobbie and began to rub her bare shoulders. “That’s what makes you the star, little girl. Look, we’ll talk about hiring someone else after the tour is over, okay?” He purred the words into Bobbie’s ear and then kissed her neck.
She melted against his body and relented. “Well, alright then.”
“Go on, baby,” he said, patting her on her ample behind. “Get ready for the after-party. I’ll be in the car waiting for you.”
Bobbie smiled. “Okay. I’ll be ready in a little bit.”
Bobbie sat down at the make-up table and freshened-up as she finished off her drink. Bobbie always did her own hair and make-up because Clyde had wanted it that way. His motto was, “Why pay someone else to do what you can do for yourself for free?” Bobbie chose her own wardrobe as well, no stylist. For the after-party, she changed into a form-fitting red strapless dress that stopped midway her thighs. The dress clung to her wide hips and revealed enough cleavage to catch the attention of any man within a ten-mile radius. As she searched through a suitcase for matching shoes, she popped open a bottle of Champaign someone had sent her, Moet and Chandon. She poured some into her cup and as she sipped it, found a pair of thigh-high black leather boots. She picked her hair out with her finger tips, replaced her brick red lipstick with a shade of true red, and then stumbled out of the dressing room, Champaign bottle and trusty cup in hand.
Outside, she stepped into the cool Chicago evening air and then into Clyde’s rented Cadillac STS as he waited for her behind the wheel.
Clyde shook his head in disgust as she climbed into the car. “You gotta have a drink with you everywhere you go, Bobbie?”
Bobbie held her hand up and looked at Clyde. “Look, don’t start that tonight. Let’s just go, Clyde,” she slurred.
Clyde put the car in gear and began to pull off the lot. “Bobbie, you gonna turn into an alcoholic if you don’t watch it. You’re gonna ruin your career and mess up everything we built.”
She laughed as she settled into the beige leather seat. “We built? Whatever Clyde, just hush up and drive.”
Clyde stopped the car at the edge of the lot and looked at her. He raised his eyebrows and brought his face closer to hers. “Watch your mouth, little girl. I ain’t your chauffer. I made you and don’t think I can’t break you.”
Bobbie rolled her eyes. “Really, Mr. Morgan? Last I checked, Mae and Earl Brooks made me. I don’t think you were present for the occasion.”
Clyde’s facial expression hardened and his eyes darkened. He reached over and tightly grasped Bobbie’s wrist. She tried to jerk away but was no match for his strength.
“I’ma say this one more time, little girl. WATCH YOUR MOUTH! You don’t want none of this tonight, believe me.” He released her and began to pull off of the lot.
Bobbie turned and looked out the window without saying another word.
Clyde shook his head and added, “See, that’s what I’m talking about right there. You get all that liquor in you and you lose your damn mind. It makes you think you can talk to me any kinda way when you know better. You know I don’t take that kinda mess from no one.”Bobbie kept her eyes on the scenery outside of her window, knowing that another word from her would only escalate things with Clyde. They rode in silence the remainder of the ride to the night club where the party was being held...
More later. Be blessed...