Address: near 9053 Barret Rd, Millington, TN 38053
The historical marker reads:
Robert Calvin Bland enjoyed a long and highly successful career as blues singer and songwriter “Bobby Blue Bland.” He spent his childhood in the community of Barretville. By age 11, he was singing for drivers of mule-drawn cotton wagons at the Barret Company gin (northeast of this site), thus earning as much as 50 cents for each rendition of country and western tunes. In less public settings, and away from his disapproving grandmother, he sang the blues, a musical genre not widely accepted at that time.
At age 17, Bland moved with his family to Memphis. He performed the blues on Beale Street and in juke joints before having his first hit single, “Farther on Up the Road,” on rhythm and blues charts. Bland received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The New York Times hailed him as “a debonair balladeer whose sophisticated, emotionally fraught performances helped modernize the blues.”