B.B. King

The Best of B.B. King [1973 MCA]

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

True, this 1973 vintage best-of album covers a ridiculously slim wedge of time in the blues king's long career. Yet this period was quite significant, for it marks the crest of B.B. King's initial entry into the pop music mass market -- and this album surfs succinctly, if not comprehensively, over the high points of his turn-of-the-decade winning streak. There's a potent slice of King's triumphant Live at Cook County -- one of his sassiest "How Blue Can You Get?" on records -- the huge hit "The Thrill Is Gone" extracts from his surprisingly pleasing early excursions into pop/rock territory on In London and Indianola Mississippi Seeds, and plenty of flavorful electric blues ("Sweet Sixteen," "Why I Sing the Blues") at full length. There are some quirks -- "Caldonia" is shortened because one of the unnamed participants on the session demanded the cut, and the "compatible stereo/quad" sound on the LP has some details drastically mixed down when it's played back in ordinary stereo. Most curious of all is the last track, where King plunks out "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother" on a tack piano and then his closing words are converted into a weird, gradually slowed-down, echotized electronic blur that settles into a creepy locked-end groove.

blue highlight denotes track pick