Monday, November 5, 2012

#107: B.B. King - Live at the Regal (1965)

He's the King of the Blues, many list him as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and he's a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Years ago during a performance, a fight and a fire broke out (over a woman named Lucille) and everyone had to evacuate the building. King rushed back in to save his prized guitar and two people died in the fire. After that fateful night, King named his guitar Lucille as well as every other guitar he purchased from that day on as a reminder not to do anything so stupid again, such as run into a burning building or fight over a woman.

It's My Own Fault
Everyone talks about King's untouchable guitar playing, but his vocals are pretty ridiculous as well. In terms of guitar playing, not too many people can touch the silky vibrato and amazing phrasing that B.B. possesses. The band holds down the song while King does his thing, but they're not just vamping - they keep it fresh and interesting throughout. The piano player especially was enjoyable to listen to. If at any point you're not digging what the vocals or guitar is doing (as if that ever happens) the band contains more than enough to focus on.

You Upset Me Baby
There's not a real change from song to song on this album, they all contain a lot of the same elements: rich, full instrumentation, incredible guitar work, and soulful vocals. While each song varies enough in their own right to keep everyone on their toes, the album is just solid recording after solid recording.

Worry, Worry
Tell me John Mayer doesn't hold B.B. King in a very high and special regard, or for that matter tell me any blues artist doesn't consider King to be one of the all time greats... The only reason I mention Mayer is because I have great respect for him and I really enjoy his blues trio. However, Mayer's guitar sound is taken directly from this track. Then again, if you're going to emulate someone - why not reach for the best. The solos have such a classic, amazing sound to them.

All in all, it's one of the greatest blues albums I've ever heard. There's no weak tracks on the album, nor is there any weak moments. The band is exquisite, they're absolutely one of the best backing bands I've ever heard. Not enough has been said about King's vocals, I really, truly enjoyed them just as much as his guitar playing. He's got so much depth and soul to his voice, and while he doesn't have one of the "greatest" voices of all time - he knows how to use it.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

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