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Live At The Regal Live

127 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, July 29, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The recording of B.B.'s 1964 performance at the Regal was hailed as an instant classic upon its release, and it's still often named as the best live blues album ever . It's been remastered from the original tapes and includes both the original and updated liner notes. Songs include Please Love Me; You Upset Me Baby; Woke Up This Mornin'; Every Day I Have the Blues; It's My Own Fault , and more from the King of the Blues.

Heralded as one of the greatest live blues albums ever recorded, this set catches the singer-guitarist as his star was in ascent: in 1964 playing Chicago's answer to Harlem's Apollo Theater--the Regal. King's performance is visceral. He sings so hard that gravel flies even in his clearest high notes. And his trademark single-note guitar lines are sharp and steely, matching his voice with trembling vigor. He offers early hits like "How Blue Can You Get," "Worry, Worry," and "You Upset Me Baby" to what's essentially his adopted hometown crowd (by his own account, King had already played the theater hundreds of times). They give him a hero's welcome. In fact, the audience's screaming enthusiasm is distracting. But rarely has a love-fest of this magnitude between a performer and fans been documented. --Ted Drozdowski

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 29, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B000002P72
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on January 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
As has been noted, this is one of the essential albums, one of the records that everyone is supposed to have like John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, like Robert Johnson, like the music Billie Holiday made with Lester Young for Columbia, like Louis's Hot 5s and Hot 7s, like Elvis's Sun Sessions.
Beyond that, this is something that has become increasingly rare, a live blues recording where the music is played for blues people, African American working class and middle class blues people in an urban center. This all about singing and swinging and jiving and talking to the audience and the audience talking back.
When I was in Mississippi in the mid 1960s doing civil rights work, I met Blues People who loved BB King who didn't know that he played the guitar. The expression always was and still is 'BLUES SINGER," not blues guitarist. He sang the blues the way they needed to listen to and in a Blues People venue the folks will talk back to him too.
My favorite, classic moment of the blues dialog here is in "It's my own fault baby" where Riley sings "I gave you seven children, and now you want to give 'em back." All the sistas in the audience scream. Gruffer sounds came from the men.
What is essential to blues performance for BLUES PEOPLE is the constant dialog between the singer and the audience that is the heart of the native blues experience. The dialog isn't about the impeccable guitar playing on this record, or the totally righteous playing of the band, or even the fine voice of Riley B. King here, but it is about what the words the lyrics speak to the lives of the audience, and what the audience responds to the singer. That's the center of blues, not heavy guitar licks that the post-folk-post rock blues fan thinks is the essence of heavy blues.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1998
Format: Audio CD
I used to teach the guitar. And whenever a student demonstrated that he had mastered the basics, I would decide whether or not I'd keep working with him in the following manner: I would play the first three or four minutes of "Live at the Regal" and watch his reaction. If he shrugged, or said something like, "That's pretty good," I would shake his hand and wish him a good life. If he fell off his chair instead (which is perhaps the only appropriate response to this extraordinary record), we'd get back to work.
The "Sweet Little Angel" here is to electric blues what Ellington's "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" (from Ellington at Newport) is to big band jazz -- a moment in time that captures the essence of an entire musical form.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
By and large live albums are mostly a disappointment, but occasionally there are those rare moments when an artist connects with the audience and something truly magical occurs. There are only a handful of truly essential live albums, like the Allman Brothers' AT FILLMORE EAST, the Rolling Stones' GET YER YA YA'S OUT and the Who's LIVE AT LEEDS. You can also add to the list B.B. King's LIVE AT THE REGAL.

On Nov. 21, 1964, B.B. King stepped onto the stage of the Regal Theatre in Chicago and produced one of the best blues albums of all time. What makes this all the more amazing is that by 1964, B.B. King had been doing about 300 shows a year for the previous ten years and he still had the energy of a man half his age. Judging from the two separate introduction (before track 1 and again before track 6), the songs were taken from two different sets. Of the ten songs, he went back to the early years of his career with 1953's "You Upset Me Baby" and 1955's "Every Day I Have the Blues" and continued through to the present with his then current hit "How Blue Can You Get."

B.B. King is backed by a six-piece band, including Kenneth Sands (trumpet), Johnny Board and Bobby Forte (tenor sax), Duke Jethro (piano), Leo Lauchie (bass), and Sonny Freeman (drums). As stated in the original liner notes: "These are the blues, and this is the King--B.B.!" 'Nuf said. ESSENTIAL
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sherrer on January 1, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Great recordings are often overlooked. Amazon's Review section helps pinpoint spectacular recordings and I agree wholeheartedly with the Essential Recording and Grove Press Guide to CD, commentaries. My personal and private collection of music, really leans towards live recordings. Studio massaging can make anyone sound good, even after the 50th take. This is the real deal. BB King's blues organization hit the Regal, with all the power and spirit of a locomotive. The horn section, alone -deserves credit here. BB's comments to the audience, shows the man himself. King commented about his stuttering lispe in his biography, and how he tried to correct it in later years. In this recording we can hear the artist stammer away-full of emotion, without any reserve. The nerves of the artist are raw, yet the sound which comes forth is pure music and self expression. Listening to Sweet Little Angel and It's My Own Fault-takes the listener back in time, to when the Thrill was Not Gone. His Guitar is like a gospel choir flirting with a brothel. Praying and cursing, as Santana, once said about guitar solos- with great feeling. Not just-doe, rae, me, fa, so, la, te, doe or a cold, major scale.
BB's superb vocals-on this magical nite, inspired rhythm section, relaxed ad libs, ignited an audience in 1964, and we are fortunate to have it on CD. Another recording on CD, "Completely Well", with bassist Jerry Jermott, a studio recording, is at the same level of virtuosity- showing BB King's power and energy. The man is a treasure and this recording-has everything going for it-for critical musician listening as well as those who simply appreciate heart felt- blues, jazz, vocal or soul, music.
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