|BB King, 1960. Photo: CloserWeekly|
"When BB Kiing was in a low point in his career (1985?) I went to see him at a little club with my father, who likes to joke that our table was so close he could touch his shoe without getting up.
I just remember the hugeness of his stature, his sound, and his personality. into my teens my tastes moved away from BB and towards rawer blues. as BB became more popular throughout the 1990s and had his club chain, fast food ads, etc, he came to represent to me a slick commodified blues establishment that had nothing to do with why I like the music.... but I was wrong about BB King and when I became a dj (and older!) I realized how ignorant I was. there's so much more to the man than his popular late 60s/early 70s stuff.
He was so talented and had so many jams over so many eras! and lots of em move enough to turn on a dance party! if you're not hip to his unsung material I put links to my big three BB King dj jams three on Facebook: "think it over," (thanks @primopreems!), "my baby's' coming home" and "bim bam" - those represent late 60s, early 60s, and late 50s sounds respectively - but you should even go earlier also!
When he wanted to rock he could do so with the best of em! BB King is such a towering contemporary cultural figure that we forget that he was a 1940s bluesman (or if you'd rather, he was already getting lessons from bukka white and playing around Mississippi as a young teen in the 1930s!) - rolling through hundreds of gigs a year for decades deep into the 21st century.
In that sense you could say he was one of the last active living breathing physical links to 1930s Mississippi blues - the mythical time and place and music culture that represents the best things about American music and is the root of so most of yr best stuff ever - yet still remains so murky and mysterious. he was literally a bridge across decades and millions of miles to all of us! the end of an era! r.i.p."