A compilation album by legendary American Blues Rock singer and guitarist.
Raised in Mississippi, where he was born in 1925, Riley B. King went on to become one of the Blues’ most influential guitarists, blazing a trail with his distinctive semi-acoustic Gibson guitar known as Lucille.
The 16 classic tracks assembled here tell just one chapter of B.B. King (and Lucilles)’s story, but what a priceless chapter it is! For a decade from 1951, the RPM and related labels such as Modern and Kent owned by the Bihari family played host to the former tractor driver as he ploughed his own distinctive musical furrow inspired by hearing T-Bone Walker in the late Thirties. “From that time on,” – he said – “I knew wat I wanted to do: I did anything anybody asked just to make enough money to buy me a guitar.”
Early in the Fifties he hitch-hiked to Memphis in the hope of getting on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio show. He succeeded, and wound up with his own hour-long programme – the springboard for recording success.
King’s success was built on hard work – in 1965, he notched up no fewer than 340 one-night stands across North America. But talent and ingenuity also played a part.
In inability to sing and play at the same time saw him, adopt a call and response routine with his guitar, echoing both gospel preaching and the chants from the cotton fields. Another ‘limitation’, a lack of facility at slide playing, led to him developing a mix of vibrato and sustain which, combined with bending notes on a single string, resulted in a distinctive sound. He has never used a vibrato tailpiece, believing ‘the reason people came out with that was because they were trying to duplicate the sound I was getting with my left hand… I don’t need it!’
In 1962 he changed record company (to ABC-Paramount, though his former label, Kent Records, continued to release singles and albums well into the Seventies) and booking agency, but it would take time to break through to a mass audience.
This finally happened in 1970, when he broke into the US Pop Top 20 with “The Thrill Is Gone” – but never was B.B. King more influential than with the recordings we showcase. A whole generation of performers on both sides of the Atlantic, among them Fleetwood Mac and namesake Albert King took his style and songs to heart, while Joe Walsh, Carole King, Ringo Starr, U2 and Dr. John recorded with him in later years.
They, like you, are fans of the Beale Street Blues Boy, the nickname which, shortened to Blues Boy, gave Riley King a new set of initials. And his story hasn’t ended yet: as the man himself says, “As long as people have problems, the Blues can never die.”
The large collection of the RPM Records era of B.B. King recordings!!
Not Now Music Limited, 2016 (CATLP124). Made in UK.
1. 3 O'Clock Stomp 2:24
2. Quit My Baby 2:28
3. Gonna Miss You Around Here 2:48
4. Good Man Gone Bad 2:42
5. Woman I Love 2:55
6. Sugar Mama 2:38
7. Hully Gully 2:51
8. Fishin' After Me 2:27
1. When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer 2:44
2. Walking Dr. Bill 3:38
3. Going Down Slow 2:47
4. Mean Ole Frisco 2:27
5. My Sometime Baby 3:03
6. Sweet Sixteen Pt. 1 2:56
7. Sweet Sixteen Pt. 2 3:11
8. Partin' Time 2:56