B.B. King - Singin' The Blues

B.B. King: Singin' The Blues

Album #6 - February 1957

Episode date - May 18, 2023

The Alternative Top 40
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    Technically, “Singin’ the Blues” is a collection of singles that B.B. King recorded between 1952 and 1956, but since nobody was pressing blues long players at the time, this compilation from 1957 became King’s debut album, and it’s a beauty, representing an era long before the blues were coopted by long-haired teenagers with British accents.

    King was unusual as a blues artist because he always presented himself as sophisticated and worldly. In a sense, King was to the blues what Duke Ellington had been to jazz music, presenting it in a manner that transcended disreputable images of poverty or plantations. Through his singular guitar style and the commanding power of his vocals, he conveyed an incredibly powerful presence that informed every one of his recordings. Just by listening, you knew you were hearing an artist full of self-confidence and self-respect. He earned the title ‘king of the blues’ not only because he was innovative and expressive, but because he carried himself with a regal sense of dignity. You can hear it clearly even on these early recordings.

     Many of the songs on “Singin’ the Blues” would become mainstays in B.B. King’s live repertoire for the rest of his life. Even this early, his style was fully formed and would remain more or less intact for the next sixty years. If it ain’t broke, there’s no need to fix it, and he may well be the most consistent bluesman of all time. You could delve into his rather deep catalogue of album releases (there are over fifty of them, not counting compilations) at any point in his career, and you’ll more or less know exactly what to expect. The performances will always be impassioned, featuring straightforward, powerfully convincing vocals supported by a clean, fluid, single-note guitar style. What makes this particular release special is that it contains much of the music that defined all that followed. From these early recordings until this very day, King was and remains ‘King of the Blues’.

    Featured Tracks:

    Please Love Me

    You Upset Me Baby

    Every Day I Have the Blues

    Bad Luck

    3 O'Clock Blues

    Blind Love

    Woke Up This Morning

    You Know I Love You

    Sweet Little Angel

    Ten Long Years

    Did You Ever Love a Woman

    Crying Won't Help You

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