Wednesday, March 30, 2011
B.B. King - The Best of the Early Years - 2007.
There have been numerous compilations of the best of B.B. King's recordings for the Modern label in the 1950s and early '60s, and if you've already picked up one of them, there isn't an urgent reason to replace or upgrade it with this CD. If not, however, this certainly makes a good bid to be considered as the best single-disc anthology of this era. The 25 tracks include many of his biggest hits and most famous classics from the period, among them "3 O'Clock Blues," "Woke Up This Morning," "Every Day I Have the Blues," "Sweet Little Angel," "Sweet Sixteen," "How Blue Can You Get?," and "Rock Me Baby," and the lesser-known tunes are of equal or near-equal quality. It's true that if you have a bit more cash and time, you might be better off with the two-CD, 40-track Original Greatest Hits, which might be a little easier to find in the U.S. than this U.K. import as well. It's also true that if you want a whole lotta Modern sides by King, you could plumb for Ace's four-CD The Vintage Years box, as well as the same label's extensive series of individual B.B. King CDs of Modern material. If you're not a completist, however, it'll come as something of a revelation as to how much better early King sounds when that mammoth body of work is whittled down to his best and, for the most part, most accessible stuff. To those more used to his later recordings, too, it will come as a surprise to hear how raw and raucous some of these performances sound in comparison to his more urbane soul-blues of later years; a few of them are even a bit influenced by early rock & roll. Note that the one previously unreleased track, by the way, is a "previously unissued intercut version of takes 2, 3, 4" of "Why I Sing the Blues" that even many completists could probably live without.
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mp3 192 kbps - 100 Mb