If you have not heard B.B King live you really must. You don't need to be a blues fan to enjoy B.B King. He was in London a month or so ago and I went with my girlfriend who is most definitely not a blues fan, and she loved it. He's getting on a bit now (about 82 I think...) so hurry. He still tours like he did in his youth.
If you can't get to see him, buy one of his electric live albums. Of which I can recommend 2 - one from his early career and his most recent.
Firstly, and I would say the best of all, is Live At The Regal recorded in 1964. This is how a live entertainer should be. Mr King has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. Just hear the shrieking and yelling from the audience (mainly the women) throughout especially during Sweet Little Angel and How Blue Can You Get. These are the standouts here for me. Mr King possesses power and ferocity like I've not heard before and plays his audience like a church congregation. His guitar playing is immaculate and the backing band is slick and tight. Don't be fooled though. This is not how B.B sounds today...
B.B King Live was recorded in 2006 at his own blues club and is as accurate a representation of the Mr King you will hear today right down to the set-list which is almost identical to the one he peddles now. His voice is still powerful but lost some of the nuances from his earlier recordings. It's less graceful as you may expect from a man in his 80's. The same goes for his guitar playing but this still sounds incredible. It's a different kind of sound that is warmer and more endearing. Mr King has relaxed a little and learnt to have more fun. At the end of Key To The Highway he says I'm going to do this til I die folks... Let's hope he does, and that day is a long way off.
I spend at least two weeks a year in Prague, this year just happened to be the time of the blues festival there. I'm not sure wether this happens every year, so dont go wizzin off there next summer if you happen to be a blues enthusiest. While I was the I met a man called rambling rex, who performed aboard a boat that would take trips down the river early night time to catch the sunset and the lights. Well it turns out that BB Spends alot of his time based around Prague and rambling was very good friends with him, and had supported him at many of his gigs. As much as I love eric clapton, not! I think that this album was a futile attempt to let BB re enter the charts. Because alone even though more talented then Eric, he does not have the publicity. I love listening to the blues and well in theory it brought around the birth of rock and roll and pop. So to sink to the level of clapton, only burns the edges of the picture.
The definitive performer of the electric blues performs at the Regal theatre in Chicago. This collection goes right back to 1964. BB performs a wonderful set of classic blues standards. "Sweet little Angel" is just wonderful as is "Its my own fault". BB's interaction with the audience is as entertaining as always and Lucille just sings throughout. With BB it is the simplicity of his playing which goes a long way as opposed to some long monotonous technique driven spiel and the sheer charm of the man on stage is really worth listening to.
bb king is the man when it comes to blues. blues rock. ha that's such an oxymoron, blues rock. anyway, bb king is rockin the charts with his great singing, accompanied by another great blues/guitar marvel, eric clapton. but the greatest blues musician ever would have to be muddy waters. muddy tha man. but muddy dead. it's too bad, cause he was a great character. and he sang great. but now it's time to see the talent of BB King. now blues enthusiests might like bb king and i would understand why if they wouldn't, because in my time here, (15 years) i've realized that the person most famous in their music catagory, never get the recognition they get. in essence, being at the top is not where you want to be, although it gets you money, blues start at little clubs in big cities. i hope and pray that Ridin With Tha King is not bb king's last cd. nothing against eric clapton though folks, i just hope that his last cd focuses all on his talents. cause he is one extremely talented musician. if this opinion confuses you, you can email me, because i realize that i'm all over the spectrum with this one. i guess this is more of an opinion about Ridin With Tha King and maybe it's not. you decide.