B.B. King needs no real introduction as a blues guitarist. His music shaped not just blues music, but a large slice of rock music to this day. He was even namechecked by The Beatles on their Let It Be album as a lyric. So without further hesitation, let’s review this album, seen as one of his best releases during his lifetime.
We begin with So Excited which is an ode to love/lust and the desire behind it. B.B. King’s guitar playing is wonderfully precise, as is the intention of this song. There is a great trumpet section here as well, along with some Jimi Hendrix style wah-wah. It’s an excellent introduction to the music at hand and has some good organ playing in it, too. An intelligently delivered blues piece. The lyrics are excellent too. No doubt that the music here was hugely influential, it sounds very, very good. The playing on this track is fantastic. A good start to this recording.
Next is No Good which starts as a slow sort of jam like piece, with B.B. King’s awesome guitar playing. B.B. King nearly screams vocally on this record, proving that not just he knew the guitar very well, but could deliver with his singing/screaming too. It’s a good tune here, and just sounds consistently good from start to finish. His playing is full of precise bending and vibrato, putting some of the 1980s Metal shredders to shame. It is an excellent listening experience, with some neat piano in the background as well. A superb track.
You’re Losin’ Me starts off with some clean guitar riffage that is incredibly simple and has some great sense of musicality in it. An expertly delivered and created piece. B.B. King returns with his throaty singing, and sings about relationship issues. Definitely a very good song, with beautiful and clean guitar parts. B.B. King could really make the guitar scream whilst semi-screaming himself. It’s not Screamo Metal, it is a great bluesman playing his heart out. Brilliant effort. The organs and bass playing sound amazing, a nice effort by his backing band.
What Happened begins with a brassy arrangement that really sounds awesome. It then goes into a slow ballad like piece that sounds really classy. It is a tale of heartbreak over time in a relationship, but is superbly delivered by B.B. King and crew. Not a bad moment is here on this record, and thankfully we can hear this decades later. The guitar solo is subdued rather than out there, done perfectly well on the record. It is a good listen throughout, a nice and superb listen about heartbreak. Good song.
Next up is Confessin’ The Blues which starts off with a relaxed sort of groovy vibe to it. It is a great listen to hear, and is actually about love based ideals rather than any religious confessions. Having said that, if this is B.B. King confessing his blues, it is a great confession indeed. A joyful and excellent listening experience, B.B. King and co. sound like they are on fire here. Another great blues tune from way back in the 1960s. Excellent listening. The guitar solos here are amazing and magnificent. Everything is just perfect in a musical sense, without automation or anything like that. Just brilliant music.
Following is Key To My Kingdom which has an interesting introduction, before going into a great ballad style piece about love, as opposed to material possessions and similar ideals. It is another superb listening experience, and has a loud and powerful, yet clean, guitar solo. It is a little quirky, but just a fantastic listen. His guitar Lucille exhibits this perfectly and emotionally so. Great tune.
Cryin’ Won’t Help You Now is a very bluesy sounding tune that sounds like a moral lesson about broken love. It is a killer tune that sounds simple, melodic, original and bluesy. The guitar solo sounds clean, pure and amazing. The Beatles probably dug B.B. King as much as other rock legends, and in a way, you can hear why. Excellent music, just like the rest of this album. It’s a lyrically nasty piece, but a very superb listen from our B.B. King. This is a nicely extended musical piece, but not for one moment does this seem dull at all. A great sense of blues tradition is here from B.B. King. A great listen from start to finish. The second half has a largely instrumental feel to it which is undeniably good which segues into the next song.
You’re Mean says it all, and continues our bluesy romp in musical perfection. There is some really amazing bluesy playing from B.B. King here. It goes into an extended jam of sorts, with call-and-response guitars. It is really good to hear, no matter if you are hearing this for the first time or not. The guitars sound like something that The Beatles and Led Zeppelin were both paying a lot of attention to with this sort of music. The bass playing and solo is so well done that B.B. King and co. deserve praise for that alone, along with the rest of this brilliant piece of music. Guitar riffs and solo pieces here sound really amazing. In short, it’s very good music. An excellent listening experience that keeps on going to surprise and amaze you. There is a sense of clever jamming on this album, the band seem to know exactly what they are doing. Some really good guitar feedback is here, too. A very nice jam, well done guys. Enough said.
Lastly we have The Thrill Is Gone which is a good way to end this album which sounds rather subdued. It is really good to hear, and has a lovely string section in the background. B.B. King sounds like he is a man on a mission here, and delivers some great and unforgettable music. Lyrically, it is about losing a true love. A nice piece to finish this album off with. Sounding somewhat melancholy, it delivers well. A good track to finish off this album with. A good listening experience.
If you have never heard of blues music or any of it, this is most definitely a great place to start with it. B.B. King is in fine form here, and the music is superb. Essential blues music? You got it! A great and well put together album.