The great Memphis guitarist and singer B.B. King has been the most high-profile figure in blues since the 1960s, ever since his LIVE AT THE REGAL album established him as a superstar. King has collaborated successfully with everyone from Bobby Bland to U2, but he made his name as a soulful, enthusiastic bandleader. His beloved Gibson ES-345 guitar, "Lucille," is the source of King's trademark sound--percussive attack, dramatic string-bending, and spare lead lines with a vocal-like quality.
Limited Edition import-only vinyl LP repressing of this album. Universal. 2007.
Heralded as one of the greatest live blues albums ever recorded, this set catches the singer-guitarist as his star was in ascent: in 1964 playing Chicago''s answer to Harlem''s Apollo Theater--the Regal. King''s performance is visceral. He sings so hard that gravel flies even in his clearest high notes. And his trademark single-note guitar lines are sharp and steely, matching his voice with trembling vigor. He offers early hits like "How Blue Can You Get," "Worry, Worry," and "You Upset Me Baby" to what''s essentially his adopted hometown crowd (by his own account, King had already played the theater hundreds of times). They give him a hero''s welcome. In fact, the audience''s screaming enthusiasm is distracting. But rarely has a love-fest of this magnitude between a performer and fans been documented. --Ted Drozdowski
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