Over-glossed R&B tracks, heavy doses of keyboards and drum programming are an ideal way to make albums for the pop charts, but for B.B. King, they are tools of disaster. Lyrically and vocally the album holds up rather well. …
No way can a mere four discs cover every facet of the blues king's amazing recording career, but MCA makes a valiant stab at it. The first two discs, as expected, are immaculate: opening with his Bullet Records debut ("Miss Martha King"), the box continues with a handful of pivotal RPM/Kent masters before digging into his 1960s ABC-Paramount material ("I'm Gonna Sit in 'til You Give In" and "My Baby's Comin' Home" are little-recalled gems). The hits – "The Thrill Is Gone," "Why I Sing the Blues," "To Know You Is to Love You" – are all here, and if much of the fourth disc is pretty disposable, it only mirrors King's own winding down in the studio.
On this release, King comes close to equaling his past triumphs on small independent labels in the '50s and '60s. He's ditched the psuedo-hip production fodder and cut a 12-song set matching him with blues peers. His duets with Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, and Albert Collins are especially worthy, while the songs with Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown, and Irma Thomas have some good-natured banter and exchanges, as well as tasty vocals. The master gives willing pupils Joe Louis Walker and Robert Cray valuable lessons on their collaborations. There's also a medley in which King invokes the spirit of his chitlin circuit days, taking the vocal spotlight while his Orchestra roars along underneath.
This 1979 effort finds B.B. interpreting a number of pop-blues tunes, many of them co-written by Will Jennings and co-producer Joe Sample, with King co-writing two of the songs aboard. Even with a large, contemporary backdrop (including a seven-piece horn section and female backup singers), there's still plenty of room for B.B.'s stinging guitar and stentorian vocals in the mix. Highlights include the gospel-tinged "Better Not Look Down," "Same Old Story (Same Old Song)," "Happy Birthday Blues," "The Beginning of the End" and the title track. As one of B.B.'s more pop-oriented offerings, this succeeds admirably.
My Kind of Blues was originally released in late 1960 on the budget label Crown. On this session, B.B. King dropped the smooth big band sound of his previous release, B.B. King Wails, to an instrumentally stripped-down unit of bass, drums, piano, and, of course, his beloved guitar Lucille. This date took one day to record and is said to be one of King's personal favorites. Any of B.B. King's early Crown releases are essential, and considering that the 2003 Ace reissues feature previously unissued bonus tracks and midline pricing, these are the ones to grab. According to the liner notes, these bonus tracks are included for being "small combo tracks that continue the traditional blues theme, and allow plenty of space for B.B.'s guitar." Unfortunately, recording dates for these aren't given, but they do include five previously unissued tracks from his Modern sessions, as well as an undubbed version of "Looking the World Over"; an overdubbed version of "Walking Dr. Bill"; and a previously unissued take of "Hold That Train..
10 CD set containing ten original albums plus bonus tracks by the blues legend B.B. King. It's a unique collection of hits and rarities from 1949 to 1962. The rare LP 'Twist with B.B. King' is appearing here for the first time on CD.
Known to music fans around the world as the “King of the Boogie,” John Lee Hooker endures as one of the true superstars of the blues genre. His work is widely recognized for its impact on modern music – his simple, yet deeply effective songs transcend borders and languages around the globe.