Bland, the youngest of 19 children, first sang professionally in 1947 in New York, and sang with a group called the Four Bees in the 1950s on New Orleans’s Imperial Records. He left the group for a solo career in 1955 and signed a recording contract with Old Town Records.
In 1960, Bland heard Titus Turner recording the song “Let the Little Girl Dance” in the studio, and demonstrated for Turner how to sing it (along with guitarist Mickey Baker and other session musicians). The event was recorded by record producer Henry Glover, and was eventually released as a single. The tune was a hit in the U.S., peaking at #11 on the Black Singles chart and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bland had two other minor hits that year, “Harmony” (U.S. Hot 100 #91) and “You Were Born to Be Loved” (U.S. Hot 100 #94). He recorded until 1963 for Old Town, and then quit the music industry.
In the 1980s, he ran a soul food restaurant in Harlem.