B.B. KING Wails plus Easy Listening Blues

Soul Jam Records

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This is a collection of two of B.B. King’s early releases from 1959 and 1962 respectively. There are also seven bonus tracks giving you a total of just over 76 minutes of the great man at the top of his game. Any fan of B.B. will already have these albums in their collection, but to hear the crisp clean re-mastering, it’s worth checking out. You know what you’re going to get with a B.B. King album. There won’t be anything that will scare the horses, and this collection starts off by showcasing what a crooner the man was, complete with big band backing on tracks 1-10. Of course, there’s the distinctive guitar style, as demonstrated on tracks like The Woman I Love but, the thing that struck me was the emotion conveyed without the need for over the top histrionics. Tracks 11–20 have the feel of a superb jamming session, and I don’t mean any disrespect by that phrase. If any young guitarists want to learn how to let their instrument talk to people, just listen to a true master at work. Less is definitely more. Recorded in Los Angeles, you can almost hear the sunshine, and it’s a bit of a rarity to have a selection of instrumentals from King. The seven bonus tracks were recorded around the same time, and gathers together some of the songs released as singles on the Kent label. Anyone just discovering B.B. King (can there be anybody?), this is a fine introduction to the man. Existing fans will love this trip down memory lane. The blurb on the cover states ‘Without doubt, this is the material upon which B.B.’s kingdom was built’.