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The Ultimate B.B. King

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Artist: B.B. King
Title: The Ultimate Collection
Genre: Blues
Label: Universal Music Group
B.B. King Website

With his guitar strapped to his back in search of his destiny in Chicago, Riley B. King left the Mississippi cotton fields forever and became the legendary B.B. King. His story is one of the most interesting and entertaining of all the luminaries we have had the pleasure to enjoy. Since 1956, when Singin’ The Blues on Crown Records hit the shelves he has carved out his own distinctive path in music. I find it hard to believe I saw him live on his 69th birthday and he is now 80 and still going strong with his trusty guitar Lucille by his side.

There was not a single CD collection available that covered the King recorded works…until now. The Ultimate Collection encompasses 21 tracks and does a nice job of following the progression of his career from the beginning to present day.

I cannot tell you how many times I listened to this CD already. It is a great collection. There were some highlights for my listening pleasure. “Sweet Little Angel” is a live track recorded at the Regal Theater in 1964 that captures B.B. in the early stages of his career when he was on fire. The crowd is going crazy, particular the women, screaming, hooting, and hollering. “The Thrill Is Gone” is one of my all time favorites. If there is a track that clearly defines the sound of B.B. King, this is it. That distinctive stinging lead from his hollow body six string, lovingly named Lucille, is his trademark along with his from-the-belly vocal style. “Never Make A Move Too Soon” smokes right along complete with the sounds of party going on in the background. His voice is fantastic and the rhythm and beat of the track will have out of your chair in the beat of a heart. The bass on that track bobs and weaves in between King’s guitar lines with exactitude. And who can forget his duo with Bono? “When Love Comes To Town” got B.B. the crossover audience that he needed to expand his reach and push his career into the stratosphere, bringing us to present day to an entire album (Riding With The King) with another guitar god named Eric Clapton. The riches may have come in the winter of his career but they came, unlike some blues legends that preceded him who died penniless while the greedy and deceitful record labels reaped all the benefits of their work.

Yes indeed my blues lovin’ brothers and sisters, this is the ultimate B.B. King collection found on one CD. Its time to take a ride to your local brick and mortar store and pick up this gem, that’s right, get off the computer and go out and look at some music in real time and pick up a few other blues CDs while your at it. There are so many great artists out there waiting for you to discover them and thanks to men like B.B. King, they now have a chance to make a decent living at it.

© Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

June 24, 2005

Rating-10/10

01. Three O’ Clock Blues
02. Please Love Me
03. You Upset Me, Baby
04. Sweet Sixteen Parts One & Two

05. Rock Me Baby
06. How Blue Can You Get?
07. Everyday I Have The Blues
08. Sweet Little Angel
09. Don’t Answer The Door
10. Paying The Cost To Be The Boss
11. The Thrill Is Gone
12. Nobody Loves Me But My Mother
13. Chains And Things
14. Ain’t Nobody Home
15. I Like To Live The Love
16. Never Make A Move Too Soon
17. Better Not Look Down
18. There Must Be A Better World Somewhere
19. When Love Comes To Town
20. Ten Long Years
21. I’ll Survive

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About MuzikMan

  • HW Saxton

    Muzik-Man, Since your heart is in the
    right place and you’ve got pretty decent
    taste in sounds I would like to correct
    a couple of things here right quick and
    polite like.

    First, BB had been recording for almost
    seven years(since 1949)when the “Singing
    The Blues” LP was released in 1956. His
    hit single “Three O’Clock Blues” on RPM
    Records (a subsidiary of Modern)was the
    seventh single released by BB King and
    his biggest hit to date upon release in
    late 1951.

    Second,the version of Sweet Little Angel
    (a slight re-write of Robert Nighthawks-
    “Sweet Black Angel”)on this set is taken
    from BB’s “Live At The Regal” LP.This LP
    is considered by many to be one if his
    best efforts. It’s a Top Ten/Desert Isle
    /Must Have/Essential Blues LP etc type
    of a disc that shows up on many greatest
    Blues lists. It’s well worth picking up
    as you begin to expand on your B.B. King
    collection.

    That’s about it there. I just wanted to
    point those little things out. It seemed
    as if you thought BB’s debut was in ’56.

    If I misread or misunderstood you or if
    it was just an ambigious statement then
    please excuse me OK? Just a stickler for
    fact that’s all. Good post and I’m glad
    you dig BB. Some of his late 60’s/70’s
    material is really great too. Just a bit
    of funk & soul sneaking in and bringing
    his blues into the modern age without
    any loss of integrity at all.

    When I was going to college I worked for
    a friends landscaping company and one of
    the houses we had under contract was BB
    Kings home in Las Vegas.This was back in
    the late 1970’s. I’ve met B.B. several
    times but only once at his house. It’s a
    funny story.WTF, Maybe I’ll blog it soon
    since it was jarred from memory by this
    review of yours.Again,good review.Later.

  • HW Saxton

    MM, Also I just wanted to mention that
    BB was one of the few Blues artists who
    actually did not make the Mississippi to
    Chicago trip in search of fame. He had
    already been an well established artist
    by the time he ever performed up there
    in Chicago.He was a DJ at WDIA radio in
    Memphis,Tenn. when he broke on the R&B
    charts. He started touring and recording
    from there. He was influential as hell
    in Chicago though.Especially on the West
    Side scene. His influence runs deep in
    the playing of Otis Rush,Buddy Guy,Magic
    Sam,Jimmy Dawkins,Mighty Joe Young and
    many other of the Second Generation of
    electric ChiTown blues men.

  • http://www.muzikreviews.com Keith

    I use the ALL MUSIC GUIDE (http://www.allmusic.com/) a reference tool. This site always seems to get me in hot water! Look up BB and his discography. I also read B.B.’s biography and was well aware of his radio station gig however he did not hit the big time until he made it to the windy city and word started to spread like wildfire. None of old blues players like BB were considered to be reknowed until they made it in Chicago, its as simple as that. I know that much about the history of the blues. Here is the track list from the Crown 1956 release with song you speak of listed:

    1. Three O’Clock Blues
    2. You Know I Love You
    3. Woke up This Morning (My Baby’s Gone)
    4. You Upset Me Baby
    5. Please Love Me
    6. Blind Love King
    7. Every Day I Have the Blues
    8. Ten Long Years
    9. Did You Ever Love a Woman
    10. Sweet Little Angel
    11. That Ain’t the Way to Do It
    12. Crying Won’t Help You
    13. Bad Luck

  • HW Saxton

    “A.M.G” – This site runs the gamut from
    the most knowledgeable to some of the
    most ill informed writers posing as some
    sort of music critic. I’m very familiar
    with it and it holds a lot of good info
    but also a lot of just plain nonsense as
    well unfortunately like everything else
    on the net.

    The track listing of “Singing The Blues”
    is composed of pre-56 singles of BB’s
    done for the Modern/ RPM /Crown label
    combine. These were compiled to form an
    album. Since the practice of doing an LP
    straight out was not very common at the
    time, this was a very standard practice.
    Bo Diddley’s first LP and Howling Wolf’s
    first LP for example, were done the same
    way.That is,compiling their earlier 45’s
    up to their latest release as a complete
    LP.

    Keith, Many bluesmen were already highly
    established stars in their own right WAY
    before they had ever “made it” in the
    Chicago scene,sorry to say.I’m not sure
    just where you got this mis-information
    from.AMG again? This is very applicable
    to many of the Texas and WestCoast cats
    like T-Bone Walker,Gatemouth Brown and
    Johnny “Guitar” Watson for example who
    were already stars in their own right
    before ever being accepted in Chicago.

    Despite all you have read ChiTown wasn’t
    the mega center of the Blues universe up
    and above all others.There were huge and
    thriving blues scenes in L.A,Houston,NYC
    and Memphis etc.as well as localized but
    still thriving scenes in many others.In
    an amongst them Dallas,TX, Jackson,Miss,
    Nashville,Baton Rouge/Crowley,La. and so
    on. This isn’t meant to marginalize the
    Chicago scene whatsoever. Many of these
    great records that have come to be known
    as sterling examples of Chicago’s blues
    were actually recorded in various other
    places around the country and bought up
    by and released on various labels,large
    and small,in Chi Town w/USA,United,Cobra
    Chief,Profile,Atomic H,Vee Jay,Parrot,
    Blue Lake and of course Chess amongst
    them.

    I’ve read enough about BB to know that
    his sucess certainly was already there
    before he’d ever been “accepted” by the
    Chi.Blues scene. He was already revered
    and dug by many there by the time he had
    played there and he had a huge influence
    there (and everywhere else too) mainly
    on the younger cats as opposed to say,
    Muddy,Wolf,Elmore and all the rest of
    those guys whose sound was mainly rooted
    in the Delta and was well formed by the
    time they heard BB. Not to say that they
    didn’t dig him though, he just did not
    influence their music that much. Later.

  • Jarmo Puhakka

    Hello!

    I was wonderin´ if you experts could help me a bit: I have a “rare” album (Crown CLP 5111)where B.B. King performs with members of Count Basie band…anybody have any info about this?

    I´m willing to sell this record.

    I would appreciate if you could help me out.

    regards

    Jarmo
    Finland

  • Matthew Piper

    Hi there. I don’t know if you can help me. I’ve just turned 20 years old and i love playing the blues but no-one of my age seems to appreciate this style of music which i believe is the most influential music out there. I’m trying to find Mr King’s address so that I could write him a letter and see what he thinks I should do. Do you think i have to go to America to play for interested people. I live in Bournemouth at the moment. I can imagine that you get loads of e-mails like this but i just want to make everybody know about the king of the blues. If you have any information that you could send me i would appreciate it more than anything. my address is 26 Vale Road, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset, BH14 9AU. Thankyou for any help you might be able to give and if you know Mr King you are very lucky and wish him a happy 80th year. thanks. Matt Piper.

  • http://www.muzikreviews.com Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

    I cannot believe its been almost 7 years since I wrote that review, appreciate all the
    comments! Too bad this site became a PITA about reserving content just for themselves and no other sites otherwise I would have kept providing content.
    JW would love to see a write up on your experiences meeting or seeing BB play, I would post your story. [personal contact info deleted by comments editor]

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