"I’m a little late to the party here, but I’ve just got to say it: Bob Dorr, Iowa Public Radio’s voice of blues and rock for the past 4+ decades — and the leader of Iowa’s beloved The Blue Band — is a state treasure.
"You’d expect someone with a voice that good — whether he’s singing the blues or growling his signature “This is Bob Dorr, driving the blues bus down Blue Avenue” into his studio microphone — to act a bit like the rock star he is.
"You’d be wrong."
- from a Dan Weeks article in The Iowan
"2015 finds Bob Dorr & The Blue Band celebrating their 34th anniversary. Beginning June 10, 1981, the band has averaged playing around 100 dates a year for its 30+ year existence, resulting in a multi generational, dedicated fan base, and making them one of Iowa’s most revered, storied, and requested bands. Kansas City music writer Paul Taylor says "If you wanted to furnish your own nightclub, you would want The Blue Band. They are like one of those gleaming bright white appliances that you oohh and ahh over, and when you open the doors, all the best features you ever wanted come spilling out." Mississippi Valley Blues Society Director Karen McFarland says "...the best damn rockin’ soul dance band in the heartland." Originally called "Bobby’s Blue Band" (an obvious tongue-in-cheek play on blues icon Bobby Blue Bland), The Blue Band is a 5-7 piece group whose sound can only be described as The blues/soul/rockabilly/reggae/creole/rhythm Band! The band can play nearly three hours of original music or another three hours of popular covers, done in Blue Band fashion. A typical night mixes originals and covers plus a few requests.
"These days The Blue Band has evolved into a veritable Iowa All-Star collection of regular and alumni players, spearheaded by founding members Bob Dorr with his unmistakable lead vocals (Dorr can also be credited with a 40+ year career on Iowa Public Radio) and Jeff Petersen on his 1968 Gibson Flying V guitar, lap steel guitar, vocals, and song writing. Two drummers split time on the Blue drum chair. Longtime eastern Iowa drum legend Steve "The Chief" Hayes has been part of the group since 2003, longtime Cedar Falls drummer John Rohlf (Johnny Metro) joined the drum team in December of 2011. "Uncle" Al Naylor brought his renowned trumpet chops to the Blue horn section in 2008. The "new guy" is bass player Doug Norton, who joined the group in 2013. It’s not unusual to catch a number of "Blue Alumni" also playing with the band on any given night including guitarists Ron DeWitte and Bryce Janey and sax men Nathan Peoples, Tom Barry, Bob Thompson, Heath Alan and Jerry Peoples. Iowa Blues and Jazz Hall of Famers Sam Salomone and Tommy "T-Bone" Giblin often lend their talents on keyboards. The band generally travels within a 300-mile area of their home base in Eastern Iowa which includes Minneapolis, Kansas City, Omaha, and Chicago, performing at live music venues, summer festivals, and private functions. The band also has had regular appearances in Summit County and Denver, Colorado, and has performed at Bluestock International Convention & Festival in Memphis, Tennessee and Sun Valley ski resort in Idaho. Bob Dorr &The Blue Band-STILL rockin’ your soul after all these years. Be part of the show some night soon!"
- from their home page
"Kansas City music writer Paul Taylor says, 'If you wanted to furnish your own nightclub, you would want The Blue Band. They are like one of those gleaming bright white appliances that you oohh and ahh over, and when you open the doors, all the best features you ever wanted come spilling out.' Mississippi Valley Blues Society Director Karen McFarland says '...the best damn rockin' soul dance band in the heartland.' Originally called 'Bobby's Blue Band' (an obvious tongue-in-cheek play on blues icon Bobby "Blue" Bland), The Blue Band is a 5-7 piece group whose sound can only be described as 'The blues/soul/rockabilly/reggae/creole/rhythm Band!' The band can play nearly three hours of original music or another three hours of popular covers, done in Blue Band fashion. A typical night mixes originals and covers plus a few requests."
- from an article in The Chronicle Times
"It’s the band that’s been his baby, however, and it’s hard to let go.
“'I don’t have children, and essentially, The Blue Band has been my only child since I was 29 years old,' he said. 'This has been kind of an emotional roller coaster already, and I’ll bet it will just magnify itself as it goes along.
“'The Blue Band literally has given me a sense of purpose, and I think all humans need a sense of purpose in order to maintain some kind of sanity and reason to get up in the morning. So from that standpoint, I’m a little anxious as to what’s next,' he said.
"The last State Fair gig, the last Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival gig — the last this and the last that — were too hard to contemplate last year. But he’s steeling himself for these moments as the band goes on its last tour this spring and summer.
“'This gives me an opportunity to actually live in the moment for all of these ongoing Blue Band gigs,' he said."
- from the Diana Nollen article, "Blue Band sings its last goodbye", on the Gazette website
“"It’s fantastic to be recognized by people that do the same thing that you do,' Dorr says. 'To persevere through all the BS to where people recognize and honor your perseverance — that was really, really special.'
"Since 1981 Jeff Petersen has been The Blue Band’s guitarist (Dorr is the lead singer and harmonica player). Peterson first knew Dorr as 'that mysterious voice coming through the radio.' Since then he has come to know Dorr as a complex personality, a fair businessman, and a loyal friend. Petersen says Dorr’s relationship with music is a sacred union.
“'Anything to keep the blues alive, he’d be up for it,' Petersen says. 'He loves music. It’s the paramount thing in his life.'"
- from an article on the Intertnational Regional Magazines Association website
Bob Dorr - vocals, zydeco tie, harp
Jeff Petersen - guitar, vocals
Doug Norton - bass, vocals
John Rohlf - drums
Nolan Schroeder - tenor saxophone
Brian Crew - trombone
Cathy Henry - vocals
To download the podcast, right click on the link below and hit "Save as...":