B.B. King

Here and There: The Uncollected B.B. King

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Ever since John Lee Hooker's The Healer, the record industry favored teaming up veteran artists with hot-shot contemporary artists, or at least pairing that veteran with another veteran of equal stature. Of course, duet albums were not rare prior to that -- B.B. King, for example, often recorded with Bobby "Blue" Bland, and teaming hot acts has been standard since the beginning of the business -- but the calculated superstar duets albums proliferated, along with tribute albums, and reliable artists like B.B. King started to appear on tons of albums. Hip-O's 2001 compilation Here & There: The Uncollected B.B. King gathers up 11 of these performances (several, it should be noted, are for records now owned by Universal), and while this is hardly complete (although it does have a couple of items for collectors -- the previously unreleased "Yes Man" and the unavailable-in-the-States "All You Ever Give Me is the Blues," both from a Vernon Ried and Jon Tiven-produced session; they're the best things here, by the way, the hardest-driving cuts here), it is enough to let you know that these performances aren't worth seeking out. B.B. is professional as always and he turns in professional, deliberately classy performances that are fine, but just not that interesting. It will fill in some holes in a B.B. King collection, but the kind of fan that collects the best of B.B. will sleep easy without this in their collection.

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