It's unlikely B.B. King had to push hard to get an impressive lineup of A-listers to appear on this album celebrating his eightieth birthday. The blues giant's career predates rock by more than a decade, and most of the duet partners on this CD (Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Roger Daltrey, Elton John) were in diapers while he was laying the groundwork for a style of music they would devote their lives to. Every guest takes a swing at reworking a B.B. King standard, with a pretty high batting average. Clapton adds his slowhand touch to "The Thrill Is Gone" while Morrison and King sound like long-lost brothers as they growl through "Early in the Morning" together. There are a few missteps — Elton John's rockabilly romp through "Rock This House" being the worst offender — but, overall, 80 works surprisingly well.
- B.B. King
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