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Album Review

One Kind Favor

September 4, 2008

This isn't just B.B. King's best album in years, it's one of the strongest studio sets of his career, standing alongside classics such as Singin' the Blues and Lucille. Where those early titles highlighted his youthful, wailing vocals and stinging guitar,...

Album Review

Original Greatest Hits

October 6, 2005

In 1969, after twenty years of making records, singer-guitarist B.B. King — a tractor driver's son, born into the crushing poverty and labor of sharecropping life in Itta Bena, Mississippi — achieved household-name fame with the howling despair...

Album Review

Reflections

July 2, 2003

Still a force of nature at seventy-seven, B.B. King has made his new album, Reflections, a classy affair, tilted toward ballads and standards. King gives a warmly enveloping take on "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons"; his voice opens up wide, and...

Album Review

Makin' Love Is Good For You

July 6, 2000

When Eric Clapton and B.B. King first traded guitar licks, onstage during a King engagement at the Cafe Au Go Go in Manhattan in late 1967, Clapton was twenty-two, a member of Cream and already God, according to London graffiti of the time. But King,...

Album Review

King of Blues: 1989

March 9, 1989

B.B. King is the greatest non-Chicago postwar urban bluesman, but in his later years he has cast wildly for styles, attempting to make himself "contemporary" in all the worst ways, masking his gifts as a singer and guitar player. King is a pure, unassailable...

Album Review

Lucille Talks Back

February 12, 1976
Not Rated

B.B. King has built a whole career on the art of ellipsis. To his best work he has always brought an unerring sense of grace, elegance and, above all, economy. Beneath the carefully worked out horn arrangements, the clearly enunciated vocals, the eloquently...

Album Review

Guess Who

November 9, 1972
Not Rated

B.B. King is a deservedly well-respected man. Anybody playing blues (or rock) guitar who doesn't name him as an influence is either dumb or a liar. He's been a tireless performer, spending god-knows-how-many years doing one night stands and crusading...

Album Review

Indianola Mississippi Seeds

December 24, 1970
Not Rated

These two faultless discs span the recording career of the most popular and innovative urban bluesman of the past two decades. The man, of course, is Riley "Blues Boy" King and the albums speak for themselves — the Kent consists of 12 of B.B.'s...

Album Review

80

September 22, 2005

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...

Album Review

A Christmas Celebration Of Hope

December 12, 2001
Not Rated

B.B. King heats up the holiday with his first-ever collection of Yuletide music, and, after a single listening, you have to wonder what took him so long. The man who most of us know as the greatest living blues guitarist imbues this well-chosen collection...

Album Review

Deuces Wild

January 7, 1998

Everybody does what they're supposed to do on Deuces Wild, B.B. King's exceedingly polished duets collection. The blue notes turn up in the right places, the guitars nail the important idiomatic details, and the celebrity apprentices — including...

Album Review

To Know You Is to Love You

November 9, 1977
Not Rated

The title tune alone is worth the price of admission. Stevie Wonder and Syreeta Wright composed it. Stevie plays electric piano, B.B. turns in a powerful vocal performance that is ably supported by his crackling guitar, and the incomparable Sigma Sound...

Album Review

The Best of B.B. King

March 29, 1973
Not Rated

In spite of 1972 being one of the stalest years in the history of popular music, the spate of reissues from all the major record companies and countless minor ones picks up more speed all the time, and the results (uneven as they are) are generally encouraging....

Album Review

Live In Cook County Jail

March 18, 1971
Not Rated

Virtually every attempt to update the style of recordings of the great blues artists has been horribly misconceived. Chuck Berry playing with the Steve Miller Band, Wolf and Muddy being forced to record with idiot hard rock bands, Otis Rush and Freddie...

Album Review

Lucille

January 4, 1969
Not Rated

While I don't like to say it, this is the least interesting King album in quite a while. Mind you, it's not really bad and in fact would be more than a respectable effort by anyone of lesser abilities than King's. The thing is, though, B.B.'s at the level...

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