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on January 31, 2002
Although not quite as strong and cohesive as B.B. King's previous release "Completely Well", "Indianola Mississippi Seeds" contains some sweetly scintillating, chills up and down your spine musical vibes. These bluesy, rhythmic pulsations are supplied by a bevy of young, then unknown up and coming musicians, featuring the likes of Joe Walsh (rhythm guitar), Carole King (piano/electric piano) and Leon Russell (piano/electric piano). Together, along with "The King Of The Blues" himself, these four individuals (B.B. included) really put their own unique brand of polish to the tracks featured on "IMS", such as "You're Still My Woman", "Don't Ask Me No Questions", "Until I'm Dead And Cold", "Go Underground", and let's not forget the Russell-penned "Hummingbird", where Leon gives his all both musically and lyrically here. "King's Special", the CD's lone instrumental, is indeed special. It is on this track where "Lucille" gets wonderfully downright sassy, and she pulls no punches in the process! The main thing about these "Seeds", is not only are they edible, they also contain an extra amount of sweetness, and will make any set of taste buds come to life! With that ultra-hip, snazzy CD cover (featuring a watermelon carved in the shape of a guitar), including the noteworthy musical selections featured on this disc, one would think MCA would give "IMS" the remaster treatment, to which it rightfully deserves (and thus is long overdue), complete with the original album cover artwork, including liner notes and a lyric sheet. One major drawback to various parts of the instrumentation, as featured on this "Compact Disc-Compact Price" version of "IMS", is that Joe Walsh's rhythm guitar, Leon Russell's and Carole King's piano/keyboard playing comes across as sounding barely audible in spots. Hopefully MCA will adress this issue if they decide to remaster "IMS". These pre-mastered seeds are still quite tasty, nonetheless, and will leave you craving all the moreso. So please, by all means, eat to your heart's content! After all, B.B. wouldn't have it any other way for his devoted fans (even though I consider myself to be more of a casual fan, but a lover of B.B. King's music, nonetheless).
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on August 10, 2002
This is a very powerful and moving record. Good for both serious and dilettante blues listeners. You'll never tire of it. Can't recommend it enough. And when you love it, go buy Luther Allison's Motown 1971-75.
wks
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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon January 16, 2002
B.B. King in the late 60's and early 70's started to incorporate a more mainstream rock sound into his blues roots. The biggest single success of that merger was the stellar "The Thrill Is Gone" in 1969. The most cohesive album of the period is 1970's Indianola Mississippi Seeds. It contains some stinging guitar work as well as some of Mr. King's best vocal work. His voice is strong and earthy and he digs into the songs with a master's hand. This album isn't for blues purists, but if you are a casual fan of the genre, this is a great album to start with.
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on January 20, 1999
Although I've owned and played outthe vinyl of this record, the CD has given me back the sounds that I crave. This is the Best CD I own (I have about 300). Anytime I put this on I listen, the beginning is outrageous, if you've ever thought you had it rough listen to this and you'll feel better. I wish I could put this on now and listen.If you don't like this you aint got no soul.
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on March 9, 2006
Although Indianola Mississippi Seeds is not a classic B.B. King album in the same sense as "Live at the Regal," it has some inspired moments and offers a different perspective on the Blues with its incorporation of strings. B.B. is in fine voice here and adds some welcome humor to his piano blues on "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother." And check out his guitar solo on "Ain't Gonna Worry My Life Anymore." B.B. says it all in just a few notes. But the real highlight of this album is a completely different departure from anything B.B. has done previously. B.B.'s rendition of Leon Russell's "Hummingbird" is soulful and beautiful, especially the final choruses belted out by some of the sweetest sounding angels you will ever hear.
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on May 30, 2015
If I was ever to be banished to a desert island and could only take along three records to listen to, this would be one of them. I got this on vinyl when I was a teenager and it was a new record. It still sounds as fresh as the watermelon on the cover. None of the cuts have the hit status of "The Thrill is Gone," but there's no weak filler here, either, and BB's version of Leon Russell's "Hummingbird" is simply amazing.
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on July 15, 2001
Asking B.B. King to follow "Completely Well" with anything resembling that album's otherworldly brilliance was something along the line of asking Thomas Jefferson to follow up the Declaration of Independence with something approaching the Book of Ecclesiastes. That said, King seemed wisely to forget about even trying, and just concentrate here on laying his blues across the pop palette with a fluid, easy but soul-on delivery. He rounded up a small crew of southern Californian players not exactly renowned for blues empathy and got them onto his wavelength, seemingly, with little more than a wiggle on Lucille or a shiver of his trademark vocal melisma. Put these songs into the hands of the usual California suspects of the time alone and you'd probably have gotten a sow's ear out of a silk purse. And the feeling you get from King's singing and guitar playing throughout is that not only does he know it, but he knows precisely how to teach these otherwise somnabulistic whippersnappers a little lesson in soul. The result is one of the most likeable and affecting albums in the B.B. King canon. Those who carped that this was like a broken-bat single after the grand slam of "Completely Well" either a) expected unreality, or b) just plain didn't listen to this set. (Surprise treat: King at the piano for a playful tease, "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother," which says a little something extra if you listen closely enough.)
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on October 20, 2015
I first bought this LP album in 1970. This is "classic" B.B. King. At this stage of his life I feel he was at his best, although he made many other albums which are also quite good. Of special note are two songs written by the late/great Dave Clark. The first is: "You're still a woman" and the second is: "Chains and Things". This album is worth the purchase price just to hear these two classic blues songs which Mr. King does to perfection.
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Eagles Producer Bill Szymczyk first hooked up with B.B. King for the June 1969 "Live And Well" LP on BluesWay – then helmed the superb December 1969 studio album "Completely Well" too. Those two well-received live and studio sets introduced B.B. King classics like "The Thrill Is Gone" and "So Excited" to a new audience (largely white boys digging the Blues) and more importantly helped the legendary Blues Boy break the Billboard album charts after decades of absence - "Live And Well" made No. 56 and "Completely Well" went higher to No. 38.

Meanwhile on his 1969 travels to Cleveland - Bill Szymczyk spots a local band fronted by an amazing guitar player/singer rocking a club. It was The James Gang and the axe maestro was of course Joe Walsh.

Although beloved in the industry for her songwriting genius with Gerry Goffin and her largely unnoticed band work with The City – in 1970 Carole King hadn’t made "Tapestry" yet and wasn’t the household name she would become throughout 1971 and beyond. Oklahoma songwriter and keyboardist Leon Russell had only just released his self-titled debut LP "Leon Russell" in December 1969 on Shelter Records (Joe Cocker would cover "Delta Lady" from it and create a hit – BB King would do "Hummingbird" - also on that album). Soulful backing singer Merry Clayton had famously duetted with Mick Jagger on The Rolling Stones classic "Gimme Shelter" from their classic "Let It Bleed" album in 1969 and was about to emerge into the limelight in 1970 with her own debut album on A&M/Ode 70 Records not surprisingly called "Gimme Shelter” (see review).

The point of this musical history lesson is that B.B. King's 1970 LP "Indianola Mississippi Seeds" (Produced by Bill Szymczyk) brought 'all' of these mercurial talents together for the first time. And I'd argue that in 2016 - it's one of those criminally 'overlooked' albums that shouldn't be. Time to rectify that careless oversight on our part - we children of Alan Freed and a frothing Robert Johnson. Here are the plugged-in watermelon details...

UK released June 1995 (reissued December 2008) – "Indianola Mississippi Seeds" by B.B. KING on Beat Goes On BGOCD 237 (Barcode 5017261202376) is a straightforward CD transfer/remaster of that album and plays outs as follows (39:33 minutes):

1. Nobody Loves Me But My Mother
2. You're Still My Woman
3. Ask Me No Questions
4. Until I'm Dead And Cold
5. King's Special
6. Ain't Gonna Worry My Life Anymore [Side 2]
7. Chains And Things
8. Go Underground
9. Hummingbird
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Indianola Mississippi Seeds" – released October 1970 in the USA on ABC Records ABCS-713 and October 1970 in the UK on Probe Records SPBA 6255 (gatefold sleeve in both countries). Produced by BILL SZYMCZYK with Strings and Horns arranged by JIMMIE HASKELL. It peaked at No. 26 on the US LP charts. Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are written by B.B. King – Tracks 2, 7 and 8 co-written with B.B. King and Dave Clark – Track 9 is a Leon Russell cover version.

MUSICIANS:
B.B. KING - All Lead Vocals & Guitar
JOE WALSH - Rhythm Guitar on "Ask Me No Questions", "King's Special" and "Hummingbird"
CAROLE KING - Piano on "You're Still My Woman", "Until I'm Dead And Cold" and "Ain't Gonna Worry My Life Anymore"
CAROLE KING - Electric Piano on "Ain't Gonna Worry My Life Anymore" and "Chains And Things"
LEON RUSSELL - Piano on "Ask Me No Questions", "King's Special" and "Go Underground"
MERRY CLAYTON - Backing Vocals
BRYAN GARAFALO - Bass
RUSS KUNKEL - Drums

45s released around the LP:
1. Hummingbird b/w Ask Me No Questions
July 1970 USA 7" single on ABC Records 45-11268
August 1970 UK 7" single on Stateside SS 2176

2. Chains And Things [Edit] b/w King's Special [Edit]
October 1970 USA 7” single on ABC Records 45-ABC-11280
Chains And Things b/w King's Special
February 1971 UK 7" single on Probe PRO 516 (no edits)

3. Ask Me No Questions b/w Nobody Loves Me But My Mother
February 1971 USA 7" single on ABC Records ABC-11290
Ask Me Questions/Help The Poor b/w Hummingbird
June 1971 UK 7" single on Probe Records PRO 528 (Note: the A-side has two tracks)

The 8-page inlay has basic but entertaining liner notes from JOHN TOBLER. This is 1995 BGO – so the booklet isn’t like their 20-page tomes of late nor is there a pretty card slipcase (mores the pity) and could frankly do with some updating. It doesn’t say who did the Remaster but it was carried out at 'Sound Recording Technology in Cambridge' in early 1995. The audio is great – meaty in all the right ways. It has a very analogue feel - hissy in some places - but alive and kicking for all that.

With just B.B.accompanying himself on piano - it opens with the witty "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother" where the Blues Boy bemoans his womanless fate. Nobody loves him and he ain't sure about his mother either (could be jiving him). Next up is the slinky "You're Still My Woman" and we're introduced to another 'secret weapon' in the sessions - a writer's credit to a one 'Dave Clark'. B.B. co-wrote three of the songs with this Tennessee songwriting genius and although Clark never managed an album of his own – his songs crop up like good pennies in cool places. Clark’s "Homework" was covered by The J. Geils Band on their debut and used as a 7" single. "Homework" also turned up on the Fleetwood Mac and Friends double-album "Blues Jam At Chess" on Blue Horizon. B.B. would co-write with Clark again on the 1972 album "L.A. Midnight" on ABC Records (Probe Records in the UK). ABC decided to use Clark's wonderful "Chains And Things" as a 45 and you can so hear why. This sneaky electric piano riffs comes sailing in (Carole King) and it’s that fabulous 70ts fusion of Blues and Rock and Soul all rolled into one (a highlight for sure).

There are two funky instrumentals - "King's Special" (preceded by some studio chatter) features the band of King, Walsh, Carole and Leon all boogieing the session in a hipster jam. It's the kind of cool Rock-Soul-Funky instrumental that will turn up on some Soul Jazz double-album compilation in the next few years - an example of a long lost wicked groove that kids of today need to know about. The other is the Side 2 opener "Ain't Gonna Worry My Life Anymore" which is a weird one - like two songs in one - both different but excellent grooves. "Go Underground" hails from the "Completely Well" sessions and is a Funky bopper - could have been a great single. His cover of Leon Russell's "Hummingbird" ends the record on another Funky Blues vibe - great piano and those orchestrated strings. The bass is so sweet, Leon plays piano on his own tune and Joe Walsh gives it some chug in the Rhythm section and Merry comes in with the choir voices at the finale.

"Indianola Mississippi Seeds" is a wicked album filled with musical bodies that only complimented and enhanced the great man's mojo.

"...She gets me where I live..." - B.B. King sings on the cool "Hummingbird". Well plug me into that watermelon one more time...
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on July 25, 2015
i hadn't heard this bb record in maybe 40 years but, based on recent events and because I liked it so much back then, I decided to get a cd copy for the car. glad I did. man. could have been recorded yesterday. timeless stuff. great songs, singing and playing. great portrait of the real deal.
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