Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Singin' The Blues & The Blues
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B
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4 1/2 stars. Some of King's early best
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 07/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a bit wary of people who consider the Beale Street Blues Boy "the king of blues". I have this idea that the king of blues wouldn't record so many pop songs, or make unintentionally funny recordings like "Love Me Tender".
But when Riley B. "Blues Boy" King does play the genuine blues, he plays them very, very well. These two albums, which are brought together on one CD, were originally released in 1956 and 1960 respectively, and they still stand proudly as B.B. King's best and bluesiest. The arrangements are smooth and elegant, frequently displaying a hint of jazz, and King is backed by a well-arranged horn section in true Memphis blues fashion.
Most of King's early top 10 hits came from these two albums, and this is the fluid guitar work that has influenced so many players (the man can't play a chord to save his life, but he plays his single-string licks like he was born with an electric guitar in his hands).
Here is the original "Sweet Little Angel" (well, King's version of it, anyway - it is a Robert Nighthawk composition, even though King takes credit for it on this album). A sizzling "Why Do Things Happen To Me". And a slew of King's best compositions, including "3 O'Clock Blues", "You Upset Me Baby", "Woke up This Morning (My Baby's Gone)", and "When My Heart Beats like a Hammer". And all of are them shamelessly and unsympathetically co-credited or even solely credited to Modern Records' head honchos the Bihari brothers under various pseudonyms, by the way. The Biharis would add their own names to the credits, often without the consent of the real composer, in order to get half the royalties. Or all of them.
The "Singin' The Blues" album is also the original source of King's version of Memphis Slim's immortal and oft-covered "Nobody Loves Me" (which everybody else, including King, calls "Everyday I Have The Blues"), and King's reading of another Robert Nighthawk tune, "Crying Won't Help You". And "The Blues" from 1958 features several rarely-heard songs which actually rank among King's best early sides, like the punchy R&B-swagger of "Ruby Lee" and "Early Every Morning, and the slow blues "Trouble, Trouble, Trouble".
The only thing wrong with this album - apart from the slightly shoddy packaging - actually has nothing to do with the album itself. But these old Crown albums are currently being reissued on CDs stuffed with bonus tracks, and at such a reasonable price, too, that there is really no good reason to shell out for this disc anymore. It's still great, though."
Where It All Began
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 01/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"B.B. King's first tracks were cut for Bullet Records in 1949, but he cut his first two albums for the RPM/Kent label. These two albums contain classic songs like "Three O'Clock Blues," "You Know I Love You," "Woke Up This Morning," "Please Love Me" and "When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer." The box set King of the Blues contains only three of these songs. If you're looking for a more complete introduction to the formative years of one of the greatest living bluesmen, this is the album to get. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"
This is where it all started!
Brian Kerecz | PA, USA | 03/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After getting into the Blues, I soon learned that there is much overlap among album sets with the early blues. When I bought Willie Dixon's box set, it contained many songs I already had from Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. However, this CD featuring BB's first two albums on one CD has only 3 songs included from here on his Box Set. So if you are a BB King fan of **any** sort and want to hear his early works, then this CD is a must have. Songs such as Bad Luck will not be found on any compilation of BB, yet they are must have's for any fan. This is simply Early BB at his best.