B.B. King - Completely Well (Great Blues Album US 1969)

Kamis, 17 Januari 2013

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Completely Well is a 1969 studio album by blues guitarist B. B. King. It is notable for the inclusion of "The Thrill Is Gone," which became a hit on both the pop and the R&B charts.

This album was released in the US as an LP record in 1969 and as a CD in 1987; in the UK only as an LP. It was recorded at a time when B.B. was enjoying his first couple of years as a crossover star popular with the young white audience, which no doubt caused the decision to record him with what was basically a studio rock and R&B band. (The string and horn arrangements, generally bland but more soulful, predominate on some cuts, like "The Thrill Is Gone.")

For example, the 10-minute "You're Mean" is a loose jam with some initial vocals, a false ending, a ragged ending, and B.B. and Hugh McCracken, meanwhile, both stretching out on guitar. There are lots of blues lines—either in separate solos, alternating call and response, counterpoint, or just over each other. There is a wide gulf between B.B.'s and McCracken's appropriateness, though, the latter being fairly heavy-handed in both single-note lines and chording—no Clapton or, say, Bloomfield in his ability to find common ground with B.B.

San Francisco critic Ralph J. Gleason's lengthy liner notes are mostly a profile of B.B., who is quoted on his influences (just ticking off names) and praised for the influence he was having on contemporary musicians. Otherwise, Gleason gives what has been the standard take on B.B. for the past 40 years: Great, for-real artist with surprising personal humility. Only 1 of the 17 paragraphs discusses a title from the LP, "Confessin' the Blues," but only to mention its historical importance (then almost 30 years old)--nothing about this recording.

Fillmore Poster 1969
Completely Well was B.B. King's breakthrough album in 1969, which finally got him the long-deserved acclaim that was no less than his due. It contained his signature number, "The Thrill Is Gone," and eight other tunes, six of them emanating from King's pen, usually in a co-writing situation. Hardliners point to the horn charts and the overdubbed strings as the beginning of the end of King's old style that so identifiably earmarked his early sides for the Bihari Brothers and his later tracks for ABC, but this is truly the album that made the world sit up and take notice of B.B. King. 

The plus points include loose arrangements and a small combo behind him that never dwarfs the proceedings or gets in the way. King, for his part, sounds like he's having a ball, playing and singing at peak power. This is certainly not the place to start your B.B. King collection, but it's a nice stop along the way before you finish it. [Wikipedia + AMG]

01."So Excited" (B.B. King, Gerald Jemmott) -- 5:34 
02."No Good" (Ferdinand Washington, B.B. King) -- 4:35 
03."You're Losin' Me" (Ferdinand Washington, B.B. King) -- 4:54 
04."What Happened" (B.B. King) -- 4:41 
05."Confessin' the Blues" (Jay McShann, Walter Brown) -- 4:56 
06."Key to My Kingdom" (Maxwell Davis, Joe Josea, Claude Baum) -- 3:18 
07."Cryin' Won't Help You Now" (Sam Ling, Jules Taub; LP has only B.B.) -- 6:30 
08."You're Mean" (B.B. King, Gerald Jemmott, Hugh McCracken, Paul Harris, Herbie Lovelle) -- 9:39 
09."The Thrill Is Gone" (Rick Darnell, Roy Hawkins; LP has Arthur H [Art] Benson, Dale Pettite) -- 5:30

1. Link
2. Link
Selland Arena 1969

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