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B.B. King, Back in the Day

May 15, 2015

People forget, but B.B. King used to make the young women holler and swoon back in the day, with both his volcanic voice -- as an old City Paper of colleague of mine recently put it -- as well as with emotionally-expressive guitar work. His songs had some pragmatic advice for the menfolk of the time too. ("Don't go upside her head," he advised in one song, "That'll make her a little smarter and she won't let you catch her next time.")

Recorded in Chicago in 1964, just before B.B. crossed over to a mostly white audience of hippies and blues aficionados, "Live at the Regal" may very well be one of the most electrifying live albums ever recorded. Anyone who only vaguely knows of King as some majestic and portly older blues guitarist should give this album a spin. It'll be a revelation, I promise. He drives the audience to the throes of ecstasy...

In Slate, Jack Hamilton called this three-song medley of "Sweet Little Angel," "Itís My Own Fault," and "How Blue Can You Get?" on side one of the album to be "the greatest 12 minutes of live musical performance ever recorded."

R.I.P. B.B. King, the king of the blues. The genre is all but history now.

B.B. King

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