B.B. King

Best of B.B. King [3CD]

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This solid three-CD box set overview of B.B. King's post-'60s career contains favorites like "The Thrill Is Gone" and "How Blue Can You Get?" as well Stevie Wonder's "To Know You Is to Love You," the latter an example of the master guitarist's impeccable taste in choosing songs to suit his style. King's late-'60s resurgence as an influence on young white musicians like Eric Clapton and Mike Bloomfield led to many crossover collaborations with rock artists (including Clapton and, eventually, U2), illustrated here by the inclusion of Leon Russell's "Hummingbird." The string arrangements on King's version, together with those on "Ghetto Woman" and the aforementioned "Thrill Is Gone," also show the attempts the bluesman made to enhance his commercial appeal. But ultimately King's music is best appreciated unadorned, as shown on the final live CD, which features stinging performances of "Night Life" and "Gambler's Blues."

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