B.B. King

Back in the Alley

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This is a collection of some of King's finest songs from between 1964 and 1967. It contains searing live versions of signature songs like "Sweet Little Angel" (one of four live songs on the CD), and "Sweet Sixteen." Spurred on by the delighted hoots and howls of his audience, Kings injects these tunes with a renewed urgency. "Lucille" is King's seemingly spontaneous, spoken-word tribute to his beloved axe. With disarming candor, he describes how Lucille took him from the plantation to fame, how he named her, and how she has helped him through good times and bad.

Elsewhere King delights in various shades of the blues: the swaggering, don't-mess-with-me blues ("I'm Gonna Do What They Do to Me") , the I'm-warning-you blues ("Watch Yourself" and "Don't Answer the Door," which features a gritty, far-away sounding guitar solo that seems to seep in from an outside alley), and the-you-ruined-my-life blues ("Gambler's Blues," "Please Love Me.") King sings with utter conviction, and tosses off solos like a man effortlessly catching lightning in a bottle.

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