ARTIST: BB King
TITLE: The Blues
YEAR RELEASED: 1958
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer (#8 R&B), Troubles, Troubles, Troubles (#13 R&B), I Want to Get Married (#14 R&B)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Early in the Morning, Why Do Everything Happen to Me
LINEUP: BB King + session guys
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: King’s label collects singles, b-sides and other tracks and puts together a nice collection of horn-driven blues songs.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: B. B. King recorded many sides for the Bahari brothers in the 50’s, who put them out on their various labels. In an effort to extend King’s reach, and get product out on the R&B marketplace, they compiled this album, his second, full of blues songs that are almost all horn-driven.
Two recent hits (“Married” and “Troubles”) were the enticement to the 50’s blues buyer. Yet, the other tracks aren’t filler. They’re just other examples of King as he was perfecting his craft. His writing, singing and playing are worth the money for this.
The horns interfere at times with my enjoyment. I prefer my blues a bit unadorned, although I know that’s was in vogue at the time. (It seems kind of a bridge between big band swing and the blues, I think).
It’s a good album. King is always a joy to listen to because you hear the joy he has in playing and singing the blues.
NOTES & MINUTAE: Crown was the label that put out this collection, which was the budget label for the Bihari brothers. They were more interested in the singles market, but albums were a way to get the back catalog there as well.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: I see there’s a version with more cuts. King cut a lot of sides in the 50’s.
GRADE: B+: Not his strongest collection (though it’s a little out of his control) but it’s a good example of the 50’s blues.