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.