ARTIST: BB King
TITLE: The Great BB King
YEAR RELEASED: 1960
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Sweet Sixteen (#2 R&B), Sneaking Around (#14 R&B), Ten Long Years (#9 R&B)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Whole Lotta Love
LINEUP: BB King and his sidemen and orchestra.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A record company production of various singles, B-sides and tracks recorded over a three or so year period of time. Don’t let that fool ya.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s not as if BB King came into the studio with cutting albums on his mind. He recorded sides, tracks, masters, whatever you wanna call ‘em, and poured what he had in every take. Some were hits, and when there was a good quantity around his record company packaged a few together and called it an album.
Sometimes the records are minor, and sometimes, like this one, are packed with great tracks. Starting off with “Sweet Sixteen”, a huge R&B hit (and not the Chuck Berry song), these 10 tracks are classic King. There’s a horn section, but it’s not as obtrusive as on some cuts (it’s prominent on “Sneakin’ Around” though, and King’s voice is sweeter than normal.
What does stand out is King’s work with his guitar. On these cuts, his playing shines. There are some interesting twists, like “Someday Somewhere” with vibes being put forward along with guitar and horn section, adding a kind of spooky touch.
King’s good nature also shines. You can tell he’s having a great time in the studio with his band, his songs and his guitar.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: There was an album of spirituals that I skipped.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a few unreleased cuts and a couple of minor singles..
GRADE: A-: Yeah, the blues. One of the BB King records that casual fans should have.