The reissue of this 1990 live set by B.B. King represents a virtual best hits set for the pleasure of a very captive audience. The universal appeal of King and his seven piece band is clearly evident as he plys his way through a set that contains nothing but the incredible playing he is known for. The San Quentin set represents one of his best live recordings, and this even contains an added studio take on "Peace To The World".
Putting his spin to covers from Fats Domino and others and a couple of his own , B.B., as always, gives up the lead vocal and guitar. His stinging, stacattoed notation keeps Lucille working hard. This is a very lively, high-paced set that pushes right through the tunes (with obvious editing). Eugene Carrier is the keyboardist heard throughout, and Walter King is the music director and sax man. Bassist Michael Doster and drummer Calep Emphrey keep the engine running, while Leon Warren applies the rhythm guitar action. The other horn men are trumpeter James Bolden and Edgar Synigal at the other saxophone post.
For the fans of King, this is great material for the archives; for new listeners, too, this is a bomb collection of B.B.'s typical live show material; grand taste for sure. There is a noticeable rock slant to this set that reflects that era of B.B.'s touring; songs like "Let The Good Times Roll", "Rock Me Baby", Fats' "Whole Lotta Loving", and "Sweet Sixteen" pace forward with quick tempos. Blues slide slower on tender tunes like "Sweet Little Angel", "The Thrill Is Gone", and "Ain't Nobody's Bizness". Lesser known numbers like "Into The Night" and Peace To The World" make an added bonus to this classic collection. This is a fine reissue reflecting premium B.B. King guitar and vocals. Don't miss out!
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This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.