Saturday, December 26, 2015

B.B. King - Here's One You Did Know About

B.B. King's recording career extended about 65 years and it was his association with the Bihari Brothers that his career first blossomed and music matured. Roger Armstrong and Dick Shurman collaborated to compile a collection B.B. King rarities, "Here's One You Didn't Know About: From the RPM & Kent Vaults." With the exception of two selections taken from a RPM records compilation, the 25 tracks present the King that became a major rhythm and blues artist who as  Shurman notes in his essay in the liner booklet shaped countless blues musical identities. Included are mostly alternate takes of issued recordings although a few songs appear to issued here for the first time. 

The album title comes from a comment King made before launching into "Catfish Blues aka Fishing After Me." Joe Bihari, who supervised many of these sessions, called Maxwell Davis a genius which could be reflected in the big band arrangements Davis provided King such as on the previously unissued "Be Careful Baby," or the superb swinging "Gotta Find My Baby." Then there is the terrific "Loving You in Vain," with a stunning vocal and terrific guitar. King may have perfected his guitar tone (although I am not sure I agree with Dick Shurman on this) after he signed with ABC-Paramount in 1962, but the quality of King's singing along with the fire and fluidity in his guitar playing on the music is as good as it gets.

Two different takes of "Sweet Little Angel" are presented, one from a recording at a Little Rock radio station and one later at a Maxwell Davis arranged session. "Talkin' the Blues" is one of two instrumentals included here, while the rendition of "Be Careful With A Fool," is a hard swinger with a blazing solo from King along with a booting tenor sax solo from Davis and followed by the stunning "My Heart Beats Like a Hammer." "Don't You Want A Man Like Me" has a similar Latin-tinged groove and is related to "Woke Up This Morning,"with Bump Myers on the sax solo. "Early in the Morning aka Early Early Blues" sports some of King's jazziest playing here which, Shurman observes, incorporated lyrics from a couple of T-Bone Walker recordings.

The album closes with a terrific alternate take of "Going Down Slow," to which is appended snippets from a radio interview and plug for a radio station. This closes nearly 80 minutes of prime B.B. King and with the excellent booklet containing Dick Shurman's excellent overview of the music, one has a reminder of why this gentleman was the King of the Blues.

I purchased this. 

1 comment:

Keith Randall said...

Fine review, Ron. It is my album of the century, thus far.