B.B. King - Blues on Top of Blues (Great Album US 1968)

Minggu, 20 Januari 2013

Size: 66.2 MB
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Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster

This isn't his most well-known stuff, but it's a very solid late '60s set. Featuring brassy arrangements by Johnny Pate (who also worked with many prominent Chicago soul acts during the '60s), it presents King's sound at its fullest without sacrificing any of his grit or sophisticated swing. No famous classics here, but the material is very strong throughout.

First off some technicals. This is a really well recorded blues session(s) for its day. The horn arrangements and sound by Johnny Pate are big, bold, & brash, but generally complements the tunes. Sometimes it veers into big-band overkill, but usually it works. And I think these arrangements were the whole point of this LP, to showcase BB in a uptown, bigband spotlight. 

His singing is impassioned and spot on throughout. The tunes are uniformly good, but I wouldn't call them great. Many are lyrically threadbare ideas that aren't that memorable, but BB puts them across so well it doesn't really detract too much. This LP contains "Paying the Cost to Be the Boss" which is almost worth the price of admission. 

My only other criticism is that everything here is really short. 2:30 second songs is somewhat the norm. It's like they programmed the whole darn thing for AM radio/jukebox play, when the likelihood of most of it being pulled as singles was slight. It would've been nice to have these tunes stretched out a little more. 

Because of the brevity of the songs soloing is kept to a minimum and what is here (on almost every tune) is all BB wailing on Lucille. Unfortunately, Johnny Pate only lets him take one chorus on each song, so it's short and sweet, and leaves you crying for more 'cause you'd like to hear him resolve/stretch his ideas with another chorus of lead playing. None of the backing players get to blow at all and it would've helped the spirit of thing if they'd at least allowed a piano/Hammond break or sax solo somewhere on here. 

But most of these are minor quibbles. In general this is a powerhouse LP by a major player who didn't usually specialize in making really well rounded LPs. This one is different though, its a great listen from stem to stern. [http://rateyourmusic.com] 

01. Heartbreaker 2:33
02. Losing Faith In You 2:55
03. Dance With Me 3:05 
04. That's Wrong Little Mama 2:45
05. Having My Say 2:35 
06. I'm Not Wanted Anymore 2:23
07. Worried Dream 2:47 [Also recorded by Fleetwood Mac 1968]
08. Paying The Cost To Be The Boss 2:35
09. Until I Found You 2:25 
10. I'm Gonna Do What They Do To Me 3:00
11. Raining In My Heart 2:26 
12. Now That You've Lost Me 2:25

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