B.B. King became the very face of modern blues at the close of the 20th century, mixing his warm and weary vocals with an elegant call and response electric guitar style, bridging the old country blues with the urban elements of R&B, jazz, and soul, and all of it done with a consistent class and style. King's story, which begins as an orphaned child working in a cotton field and ends with him playing headlining shows in the best clubs all over the globe, was given a fine film treatment in Jon Brewer's bio documentary The Life of Riley, and this set is the soundtrack for that film. Following the storyline of the documentary closely, it does a wonderful job of showing King's musical development chronologically, beginning with 1951's “3 O’Clock Blues” and running all the way through to his comeback (although he'd never really been away) hit "Riding with the King" from 2000, and adding live tracks at key intervals, featuring guest spots from Eric Clapton, Ronnie Wood, Derek Trucks, and others. Assembled with care, this release makes a great introduction to the history, depth, and scope of King's iconic career.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
feat: The Crusaders
feat: Eric Clapton