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32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 13, 2005
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Product Description

Celebrate B.B. King's 80th birthday with his incredible new CD "80", his first new studio album in two years. "80" features newly recorded duets of blues standards with some of today's biggest stars including Eric Clapton, Elton John, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, Roger Daltry and many more.

One of the most influential guitartists of the 20th Century, B.B. King has achieved icon status, along with his guitar Lucille. Truly the blues greatest ambassador, B.B. continues to electrify audiences and spread the gospel of the blues.

The blues master's 80th birthday gift to his fans is his third all-star collaboration. Its dozen tunes are a mix of classics and obscurities from King's past. They include commendable versions of his signature "The Thrill Is Gone," with Eric Clapton trading vocal lines and licks, and Howard Tate's "Ain't Nobody Home," with Daryl Hall answering King's gritty growl. There are obscurities, too, like "Tired of Your Jive," with a jocular Billy Gibbons, and "Hummingbird," transformed into a melodic gem with the assistance of John Mayer.

What's surprising is how well King's singing and playing continue to resist the years, especially when he unfurls his hearty voice on "All Over Again" as Mark Knopfler's guitar plays equally soulful foil. And Gloria Estefan is richly colorful duetting on "There Must Be a Better World Somewhere." What's disappointing is the perfunctory quality of King's match-ups with Roger Daltrey ("Never Make Your Move Too Soon") and Elton John ("Rock This House"). Van Morrison, Glenn Frey, Sheryl Crow, and Bobby Bland complete the guest list. --Ted Drozdowski

Recommended B.B. King

Completely Well

Riding with the King
(with Eric Clapton)

Let the Good Times Roll: The Music of Louis Jordan

Chronicles: Live at the Regal/Blues Is King/Live in Cook County Jail

King of the Blues

The Ultimate Collection

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B000AA4M9U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,825 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 3, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Known as the "King of the Blues," guitarist B.B. King, (short for "Blues Boy King"), who has been performing for well over half a century now, turned eighty in September of 2005. His album "80" was released just in time for the birthday party. King is known for his distinctive sound - especially his use of the sliding "bent" note, and for calling his electric Gibson guitar "Lucille." And he sure loves making love to Lucille!

A star studded cast of musicians join King for this celebratory album, including: Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Bobby Bland, Billy Gibbons, Mark Knopfler, Elton John, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, Daryl Hall, and Gloria Estefan. This is far from my favorite King album. The great man's booming voice and uncluttered guitar style, liberal use of bends, his signature tremelo, tend to overpower those he performs with. His talent casts a huge shadow, making it difficult for others to shine as he does. The commanding performances here, and the enjoyment, are provided by Mr. B.B., and the much younger artists have to strive to keep up with him.

"Early in the Morning," with Van Morrison is one of my favorite cuts and sets the bar high for those that follow. "The Thrill Is Gone," with Eric Clapton's fabulous guitar solos and B.B. playing his vocal chords, is an outstanding track, as is "Funny How Time Slips Away," with blues veteran Bobby "Blue" Bland. Mark Knopfler ("All Over Again'') and Billy Gibbons ("Tired of Your Jive'') are also CD pluses.

I am not at all thrilled with Gloria Estefan's "There Must Be a Better World Somewhere," nor with John Mayer's treacley ballad "Hummingbird." King's strong presence manages to salvage these pieces, however. And although I occasionally like Elton John, he cannot pull off "Rock This House," even with help.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Moulty on September 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Growing up my Mom had a fortune cookie message taped above her desk that said "to stay youthful, stay useful." B.B. King is a spry 80, and you can hear it in his voice. He may not hit the notes he used to, but his passion and love for performing hasn't diminished at all. The performance of "The Thrill Is Gone" with Eric Clapton is an inspired rendition, teacher and student reuniting to compare notes. The lead track "Early In The Morning" features a robust exchange between Van Morrison and B.B. that is easily one of 80's most notable highlights. Representing the more recent graduates, John Mayer and B.B. play wonderfully off one another on Leon Russell's classic "Hummingbird", which builds into a crescendo, complete with subtle string arrangements, that lifts the song to glorious heights. Other highlights include old friend Bobby Bland reminiscing on Willie Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips Away," and the rollicking boogie woogie throwback "Rock This House" with Sir Elton John. Though the ladies are only sparsely represented on "80", Sheryl Crow's duet with B.B. on "Need Your Love So Bad" brings out the best in both, as B.B. cooly croons "...well hello there" to sultry Sheryl.

For a man on the cusp of his 80th year, you wouldn't know it - I hope I sound and look so good!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Albert G. Smith Jr. on September 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Let's face it. Anyone that is coming up on eighty years old, and has had such a long career in music could be excused if he "phoned in" an album like this one. I buy every B.B. King CD that comes out, and think of him as a national treasure, so while I planned to buy this one upon release, I didn't expect much. I was wrong. This is a very fine album. It is at a level that might make many performers 50 years the junior of King envious of his skills. Even at eighty, he is a valid performer, and not a novelty act.

This is King's second studio album of duets in recent times ("Blues Summit" was a live album), and in my opinion this is superior to the "Deuces Wild" disc from 1997. I looked at the list of participants on "80", and while some were obvious, such as Clapton, others were surprising for a blues disc. I was not sure what to expect from some of the "friends", not because of the talent, but because of the genre that they came from. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by what on paper might seem like miss-matches. I expected to have a few duds in the line up, but no... they were all not only tolerable, but enjoyable.

Some highlights for me: Van Morrison trading vocals on "Early in the Morning" is very nice. Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top mixes his Texas style blues with King's more traditional style on "Tired of your Jive" to good effect. Clapton plays call and response with King's guitar on the often covered "Thrill is Gone" taking the song to a different level. Mark Knopfler plays his subdued, understated guitar off of King's equally minimalist fills on "All Over Again" to good effect. The Eagles' Glenn Frey gets nice and bluesy with his vocals on "Drivin' Wheel", as does the Who's Roger Daltry on "Never Make Your Move Too Soon".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on January 19, 2006
Format: Audio CD
BB King still sounds wonderful after 50 years of performing. This happy birthday tribute doesn't disappoint. King teams up with musicians from pop, rock, folk, and jazz to re-create his greats with interesting results. Probably my favorite is his teamup with Slowhand Eric Clapton on "Thrill is Gone." However, Gloria Estefan's clear, sweet voice adds a different and unexpected note to "There's Got to be a Better World Out there." Perhaps it's not King's best, but it's definitely an exceptional addition to any blues collection.

Happy Birthday, BB, and may you rock on for many more years!
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