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However, give the compilers at Geffen Records their due. Through cross licensing they have been able to include some of his early RPM and Kent singles as well as his MCA material. [MCA has been B. B. King's home since the late sixties.] The set begins with his first No. 1 R&B single "Three O'Clock Blues" in 1951 and continues through with the most recent song "Ten Long Years" from 2000's collaboration with Eric Clapton, RIDING WITH THE KING.
Even at twenty-one tracks, there is much that had to be eliminated from this collection. Only the last four tracks represent King's post-seventies output. And over the past half dozen years alone, King has released some powerful albums, including 1999's tribute to the music of Louis Jordan LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL and 2003's collection of standards REFLECTIONS, neither of which is represented here.
What you do get though is classic B.B. King, including his 1964 crossover hit "Rock Me Baby," a couple tracks from 1965's LIVE AT THE REGAL "Every Day I Have the Blues and "Sweet Little Angel," his signature song "The Thrill Is Gone" (which at No. 15 was his highest charting pop hit in 1970), and the 7" edit and mix of "When Love Comes to Town" with U2.
Overall, this is a satisfying collection and makes for a nice introduction to the music of B.B. King. If you want a broader overview, consider 2000's 2-disc anthology or 1992's box set KING OF THE BLUES
Much better than "Greatest Hits" and more affordable than various multi-disc compilations, "The Ultimate Collection" is the place to start for newcomers and curious listeners who want to know what Riley "B.B." King is all about.
"Three O'Clock Blues", "You Upset Me Baby", "Sweet Little Angel"...this is not everything you could ever want from B.B., but it is a very fine place to start.
This isn't the best collection of B.B.'s music. For that you'd have to go to the boxed set "King of the Blues" which is now over a decade old. It's missing everything he's recorded since 1992 so isn't quite as complete as it could be either. As a single disc collection, though, you can't go wrong with this outstanding set. Yes, "The Thrill is Gone" also makes another appearence but because it'ssuch an important track (it broke B.B. to a wider audience and became his first crossover hit)it certainly deserves to be included. The extensive liner notes gives us a glimpse of B.B.'s life from the day he entered the world as Riley King the son of a sharecropper (something he himself did briefly as well). It's clear from even these early sides (the first four tracks)he didn't have blood flowing through his veins but the Mississippi Delta's rich water.
Focusing primarily on his singles (although there's a generous helping of album tracks as well), this collection could easily have been doubled or tripled in length (much as Bruce Springsteen's "Ultimate Collection" was). From the plainative fragment "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother" (with the sad but witty comment, ..and she could be jiving me") through to B.B.Read more ›
"Three O'clock Blues": This is a nice example of his blues singing. He has a fine voice, a nice blues voice. He looks around, in the song, at 3 O'clock in the morning.
"Well, I can't find my baby,
Lord, I can't be satisfied."
His guitar work is sterling, but understated. There is a very well done guitar turn about 2/3 of the way through. All in all, a strong work.
"Sweet Sixteen": This cut begins with some very well done guitar work. Not wild playing, but controlled and oh so effective. It reminds one that playing fast is not necessarily playing well. He sings of when he met his baby, when she was "sweet sixteen.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ultimate collection from bb king. if you like him, you will like this.Published 15 days ago by Bill F
A very good 1 CD collection of BB's recordings, from 1951 to 2000. You can hear how his playing and singing styles, and some of the songs themselves, have evolved over the years.Published 2 months ago by Rod Levell
Long live the King! This is a copy to keep! Waiting for my another order and I am so positive that pops would love it!Published 3 months ago by Patrick Son of Peter