B.B. King (CD Review)
"Deuces Wild" by Jeff Fields
E-mail: diakid@aol.com

BB King's new release "Deuces Wild" is like eating at your favorite burger joint. There is nothing truly spectacular about that burger, but it hits the spot every time. And so does BB and his 13 special guests.

"Deuces Wild" is along the lines of BB's 1993 release "Blues Summit," in that each song is performed as a duet. But in contrast with "Blues Summit," which included the who's who of the blues, BB rolls the dice much more freely on his latest guest list. And he comes up like Mr. Lucky.

The CD starts off with a solid take of "If You Love Me" written by Van Morrison who also provides the vocals along with BB. This track is on the mellow side but is quite enjoyable with BB's ever smooth signature vibrato.

BB teams up with Eric Clapton on the rhythm looped "Rock Me Baby." This track gets funky and provides ample space for the two giants to settle into a little call and response. Some serious lick tradin' between Slowhand and the King. Again, nothing ground breaking going on here, but some excellent guitar work by two of our living legends.

Now when BB mixes it up with rap great Heavy D on "Keep It Coming," well let's just keep it simple. The song is fresh. Even BB sings, "Lucille never thought she'd be doin' any rappin.' " Be thankful things change. "Keep It Coming" has a strong rap slash blues feel that compliments each other like a cold beer and pizza, perfectly. With Heavy D laying down the funk and BB supplying his nastiest studio recorded solo in many moons, "Keep It Coming" is by far the CD's best track. Also the least predictable of all the songs.

Willie Nelson and BB saddle up nicely with "Night Life." Willie bring his country twang with a little bluesy acoustic guitar. Makes one wonder why he doesn't put out more of a blues slanted CD? The Rolling Stones check in nicely with the rockin' shuffle "Paying the Cost to be the Boss" and David Gilmour and Paul Carrack chip in with the sweet jam "Cryin' Won't help You Babe." These tracks only confirm what we already know. Great musicians make great music no matter whose bag it comes from.

While "Deuces Wild" does not contain any fantastic musical revelations, it does reveal a side of BB that is not always visible, the King of the Blues can crossover into any music.

(Featured guests: Van Morrison, Tracy Chapman, Eric Clapton, Mick Hucknall, Bonnie Raitt, D'Angelo, Dr. John, Marty Stuart, The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Heavy D, David Gilmour, Paul Carrack, & Willie Nelson.)

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at: mnblues@aol.com

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Copyright 1997 by Ray M. Stiles
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