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B.B. King- Live at Ole Miss
August 27, 1991
Original Release Date: 1980

Disc: 1
1. Intro- B.B. King Blues Theme
2. Caldonia
3. Blues Medley: Don't Answer The Door/You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now/I Need Love So Bad...
4. Hold On
5. I Got Some Outside Help (I Don't Really Need)
6. Darlin' You Know I Love You

Disc: 2
1. When I'm Wrong
2. The Thrill Is Gone
3. Never Make A Move Too Soon
4. Three O'Clock In The Morning
5. Rock Me Baby
6. Guess Who
7. I Just Can't Leave Your Love Alone

Review (by Tommy Chung)
As one of the pillars of Uptown Urban Blues, B.B. King is someone who needs no introduction. I really couldn't tell you how many recordings he released. If you ask him, he probably couldn't tell you either. B.B. has been invited to the White House. He has won more awards than any living musician. He is the first Bluesman to bring "respectability" to the Blues, if respectability is the word. B.B.'s music isn't exactly the down-and-out, loan-me-a-dime kind of thing. He has a horn section, wears a suit and a bow tie, with the whole backing band in tuxedo. "Grand" is the word. His music sells across the board; he is the ambassador of the Blues. Black, White, Yellow, he appeals to all. In more than one way, B.B. popularized or commercialized the Blues, spreading the music to the far corners of America and the world.

B.B. has remained consistent throughout the years: He has never really done a bad record. His sickly sweet voice, his equally sickly sweet guitar finger work on the major pentatonic scale appeals to a much wider non-Blues listening audience than any other Blues artist. B.B.'s music is comfortable, unobtrusive, innocuous, just like an AAA grade movie, fit for the whole family, young and old. But I find that his music sometimes lacking in punch, too sweet at times and too soft-centered. What his music lacks in punch, however, he made it up with sheer emotion and feel. He is the Blues, he means what he sings and plays what he means. In B.B. you really understand you don't have to play very much to be effective, just three or four notes in the right place and that's it. He has been basically playing the same licks over and over again on all his recordings and live shows. But you have to be B.B. to get away with it. In all appearance, B.B. seems to be saint without fault, always sweet and almost innocent. That appearance ends when you turn the first page of his autobiography Blues All Around Me. He is after all human. Get this book and you will encounter a piece of first hand Blues history that is absolutely fascinating.

B.B.'s early recordings under the Flair label and ABC label were interesting, but he did not quite master his act in those years. In those years, his voice sounded immature and his guitar was often edgy and had yet to acquire the trademark sound and sweetness of his later recordings. How good B.B. performs often depends on his company, how strong the backing band is. Of course, B.B. delivers the goods every time, but with a great backing band, he is simply brilliant and unmatchable. This is what happened when he played and recorded his shows at the Mississippi University in 1980 released under the name of "Live At Ole Miss". It really takes a live recording to bring you all the intensity and emotion of the man on stage. The backing band was tight and had a great groove. The versions of The Thrill Is Gone, Three O'clock In The Morning, Guess Who are absolutely mesmerizing. B.B. King is certainly one of the Kings of the Blues. His personality, his feel comes right across thick and fast and with the horn section blowing away in the background, he is just unbeatable. His kind of music has been called the "Memphis Blues." To me, B.B. King is a school in itself - the rich man's Blues institute, if anything.

If you want to hear B.B. at his absolute best, his definitive live recording, you have to get hold of a copy of "B.B. King & Sons" recorded live at Nakano Plaza, Japan on 9th August 1990. This CD was released by Victor Music Industries, Inc., Tokyo serial number VICL-103. The backing band included Mitsuyoshi Azuma, a six-piece horn section. Special guests included June Yamagishi, Malta, Issei Noro, who are some of the cream of the Japanese musicians. This is B.B.'s absolute best. I don't think you can get this CD outside Japan and I am not even sure if it is still available in Japan. I have a copy, a gift from one of my Japanese friends. The backing band and the horn section swings like crazy, the grove was so thick you can cut it with a plastic knife. Beg, borrow or steal, get a copy of this gem. You won't hear a better live recording than this by B.B. The guitar exchange with Azuma, Issei Noro and Yamagishi were out of this world. The show recorded here is what you would call the perfect show. Absolutely impeccable, jammed packed with emotion, artistry and passion. The rendition of The Thrill Is Gone, Guess Who, Caledonia and the rest of it all, phew!!! You are just not going to believe it. This live recording, to me ear, is much better than B.B.'s "Live At Cook County Jail," "Live At The Regal" and even "Live At Ole Miss."

Extended Listening

-B.B. King, Eric Clapton- Riding with the King

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