B.B. King

Deuces Wild

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

In theory, a B.B. King album featuring 13 duets with a variety of different artists could be spectacular, but Deuces Wild feels like it was conceived with the bottom line in mind. Instead of choosing artists who would complement B.B., the producers assembled a lineup that would appeal to a broad audience, from old blues fans and rockers to contemporary country, urban R&B, and hip-hop fans. Not surprisingly, the end result is quite uneven, ranging from the sublime to the terribly awkward. It also comes as no surprise that the veterans acquit themselves the best -- Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Joe Cocker, and Willie Nelson all sound terrific, while the Rolling Stones' support on "Paying the Cost to Be the Boss" positively smokes -- while Tracy Chapman sounds surprisingly soulful on "The Thrill Is Gone." However, the teamings with Simply Red's Mick Hucknall, D'Angelo, Marty Stuart, and rapper Heavy D are simply clumsy, with neither party sounding particularly comfortable. There are enough good moments on Deuces Wild to make it worthwhile for hardcore B.B. fans, but when they're placed in context with the bad cuts, the overwhelming impression is that the album is a bit of a wasted opportunity.

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