BB King is one of the best known guitarists, in any circle, but when it comes to the blues – this guy is the first word, the last word, every word.
Born in 1925, King had a long career that influenced many and encompassed so much more than the scope of this review. But touring and recording with the likes of Gary Moore, U2, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray et al, well, ‘nuff said.
When he died earlier this year, the legacy he left said everything. And this is a good celebration.
This 2LP is a compilation of a 2012 Pledge Music funded 10CD box, that was also made available as a 4CD highlights. 180g vinyl of the finest blues around.
Side One kicks off with the 1965 single How ‘Blue Can You Get’, mixing a slow heartfelt blues guitar with some piano and saxophone. ‘I Wonder Why’ follows, the brass filling the sound, again the stately pace. ‘Think It Over’ is more r’n’b, the kind of song the Stones or Yardbirds could cover.
There’s so much good stuff here; the live ‘Sweet Sixteen’ stands out, as does ‘Stormy Monday Blues’.
‘Worry Worry’ (live) runs to 10 minutes – lots of great blues to listen to. ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’ finishes in wonderful fashion.
It should be pointed out that this is blues, not rock, although there aren’t may blues/rock or rock artists not influenced by King. The stately blues is heartfelt, it’s passion and technique over shred here. And there isn’t a blues musician alive who won’t have dipped into this at some point.
Many fans may have already one of the above, and the vinyl format may not suit the casual listener, but even so, the music sounds, looks and feels (OK I’ll go Spinal Tap and say Smells too) SO much better on the vinyl, the 180g discs part of a fantastic package well worth searching