B.B. King

Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2011

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He may be 85 these days, but B.B. King is still B.B. King, and any time he sings or delivers those signature clean, jazzy, and warm guitar lines, it's an extra gift from a musician who has given us listeners and fans so much for so long. This warm, celebratory, and good-natured live set was recorded on June 28, 2011 at London's Royal Albert Hall and features King in chatty good humor and a whole host of guests, including guitarist Derek Trucks, singer Susan Tedeschi, the Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood, Simply Red's Mick Hucknall, and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash. King does what he's always done, and on signature songs like "Rock Me Baby" and "The Thrill Is Gone," one gets the hopeful feeling that King could actually go on and do this forever. He's is in a talkative mood here, and the T-Bone Burnett story he tells as the introduction to a version of Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" is a funny yet tender narrative that touches on age, memory, and everything the blues can be. It's obvious that King is enjoying himself, and if this isn't the best live set he's ever done, it might be the warmest. At 85 King is still engaging, comfortable with an audience, and once he slides into one of those sweet-as-Memphis-honey guitar runs, he's everything he's always been. There's only one B.B. King and that he is still that, after all the years of fine music he's given us, is a miracle, a blessing, and a treasure.

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