Live album recorded January 10th 1972 for broadcast on KMET Los Angeles. In the early 1970s, B.B. King was basking in the glow of crossover success, his brand of soulful blues reaching all audiences, not just African-American ones. On this 75-minute radio broadcast from 1972, his stinging guitar paces a mix of old and new classics, from his mid-‘50s R&B hit “Everyday I Have the Blues” to Leon Russell’s “Hummingbird”. Other highlights include the standard “Rock Me Baby” and his biggest hit, “The Thrill Is Gone”. (Note: There are different releases of these recordings, mentioning different dates for when this radio show was broadcasted. Some say October 1st, 1972, whilst this one says January 10th.)
The great bluesman B.B. King, who died in 2015, was one of the few artists whose every note was of interest. This 25-track CD of mostly previously unissued recordings are drawn from his sessions for Modern Records between 1954 and 1962. Be Careful Baby is a rare thing a B.B. King song that has never been released before in any version, while two tracks appeared on Ace's 2014 RPM compilation Speak Easy. The version of Catfish Blues is from a completely different session to the familiar issued version and from B.B.'s commentary appears to be the version he played on the road. There are many comments from B.B. and the band which provide an insight into the recording process and B.B.'s relaxed and informal manner in the studio. The CD ends with a previous unheard interview, recorded backstage at the Fillmore Ballroom in San Francisco with radio station KSAY at the 10/10 spot on your dial. All tracks are from the original master tapes.
Tampa Red's influential later recordings for RCA Victor (1945-53) have never been officially reissued on CD and rarely on LP, yet are a crucial element in the post-war blues canon. Many of his songs were covered by B. B. King, Muddy Waters and other top bluesmen. They feature the majestic piano of latter-day Elmore James sideman, Johnny Jones and include the harmonica of Big Walter 'Shakey' Horton and Sonny Boy Williamson II. There are four previously unissued tracks but none are available on authorised CD, not even on OOC releases.
If the 10 years these Texas guitarists have spent as a team exploring the world bar by bar has been "research," what they've learned is how to please a crowd. The formula's simple: no-frills songs about women and working for a livin', set to meat-and-potatoes arrangements that leave plenty of room for their guitars to roam. Kubek's six-string snarls the loudest, hitting Albert Collins-style sustains and grinding out beefy chords. King skirts around the fringes with his sweet-toned, jazz-informed fills or works at groove-level, anchoring things with his basic, chopping, R&B-style chording. King's vocals are really his trump card. They're smooth and slinky when he's romancing in "Make It Right" or gravelly as Kubek's fluid guitar when he's a driven man in numbers like "Runnin' Blind." The album ends with the kind of guitar grand finale that sets a crowd on fire just after last call. The tune, "Standing in My Door," lets both six-stringers sting.