Friday, May 10, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: B.B. KING BLUES BAND/THE SOUL OF THE KING


THE B.B. KING BLUES BAND
THE SOUL OF THE KING
(Ruf Records)

5.10.19

Blues music has been a crucial part of American history for nearly 150 years. Originally, the Blues genre grew organically from Folk, spirituals, and African work songs. Since the dawn of recorded music, Blues has traveled around the world, inspiring millions of musicians in the process. The musical blueprint for the Blues remains virtually unchanged a century and a half later yet musicians find new ways to interpret it year after year. Much like an amusement park ride, the basic structure itself never changes yet it is experienced differently by each person that rides it. The Blues can be performed by down-trodden acoustic guitar player or a glitzy big band and have the same effect on the listener. The Blues informs almost every other style of music – from Rock ‘n’ Roll to modern Country and Jazz. The Blues is understood and misunderstood in equal measures. The Blues can make you sob but then turn around and drown you in joy. The Blues, in the hands of the right musicians, is magical.  And one of the greatest Blues musicians/magicians was – and remains – B.B. King.

Born Riley B. King, B.B. became one of the most beloved interpreters of the Blues in Rock ‘n’ Roll history.  Ever since the release of his debut album in 1956, he became one of the genre’s most lovable ambassadors, known as much for his personality than his flawless approach to the music. And while many musicians may privately name their guitars, we all knew that B.B.’s guitar went by the name of Lucille. And, boy, Lucille could sing! B.B. remained a Blues magician and entertainer until the very end. When B.B. died in May of 2015, there was a ripple in the universe and even the Blues cried that night. Thankfully, we can still go back and listen to B.B. King’s classics and remember the man through his music. Or we can go revisit his music with his old band mates and hear it again with new and surprising results…


On THE SOUL OF THE KING, King’s most popular songs are reimagined by his Blues Band and a host of special guests including Taj Mahal, Mary Griffin, Joe Louis Walker, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Kenny Neal and Michael Lee. With such a large back catalog to choose from, each of the guest artists chose the songs they wanted to record for THE SOUL OF THE KING. Once listening to the project, it would appear as if the songs chose the artists! Blending raw, unfiltered Blues and the classic B.B. King Blues Band’s show-stopping stomp, this is an album that not only celebrates B.B. on the fourth anniversary of his death, it also reignites the Blues fire and pushes B.B.’s legend straight into the future. From “Paying The Cost To Be The Boss” to “The Thrill Is Gone,” this is a B.B. King Blues bash and everyone is invited!

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