Acclaimed Albums – Live At The Regal by B.B. King

Like I mentioned with the switch over to the Top 1000 list, there are a number of older albums that I listened to as part of a previous blog. This was back in 2009 … and I think my views on music have changed somewhat.

After today, I will have caught up. Cannot believe how much I used to write…

List item: Listen to the 1000 Most Acclaimed Albums
Progress: 311/1000
Title: Live At The Regal
Artist: B.B. King
Year: 1965

Never have I had to listen to an album so much before I started writing a review. This isn’t me putting an early slight on B.B. King’s Live At The Regal but just a comment on how recently I have been doing all my reviews after midnight and this time I just had to say to myself ‘no this is stupid, just do it tomorrow morning’. So that is what I did, but there were first some other tasks that needed performing like washing up and having the remains of last night’s Chinese take away for breakfast. But at least I have listened to this album enough to have an opinion and an awake opinion at that.

Blues is a genre that has begun to be featured on this list with increasing frequency but because of the way that it is arranged it is becoming hard to figure out who in this genre influenced another. I say this because B.B. King is one of those names that I actually knew previously to be a big name in the blues but has an album 4-5 years after Muddy Waters, another name that is associated with the same genre. So I guess I need to see how these two albums match up as I am finding myself with a case of writer’s block here.

Well, I like them both. That’s a good start. With B.B. King there are some amazingly masterful solos on his electric guitar with the wailing reverberating around the venue, yes it’s a live album. The use of these electric instruments is definitely a new occurrence on the list, with the first album really showcasing them being Bringing It All Back HomeAs an artist it really does need to be pointed out that B.B. King has the whole package, he has a powerful voice, can play the guitar like a virtuoso, can write his own material and has such charisma that you can hear him whip the audience into some sort of frenzy. This is actually the first time since Sarah Vaughn’s At Mister Kelly’s where I found myself looking forward to the audience interactions as what has been captured on vinyl/CD/mp3 must inevitably lack some of the effect it would have live, so it’s perfectly understandable how he got everyone to scream his name.

Another major plus point has to be directed at the length of this album. Like with yesterday’s review for A Love Supreme the length is so perfect that you can actually give this album the time to hear from start to end multiple times. The songs are short and punchy so it doesn’t venture into dullness and punctuated with falsetto on tracks like ‘Worry, Worry’, something I can always appreciate. So with such a glittering review of this album what is the catch? Well there really isn’t one. This is without a doubt the best blues album that I have probably ever heard. Maybe an album will arrive in my lap that’ll make me say otherwise, it is not beyond the realms of possibility, but for now it has that ‘honour’.

So that makes this a best of the genre album and yet it doesn’t get a perfect rating from me like Sam Cooke, Dusty Springfield and Jerry Lee Lewis have. The reason for this is probably a bit of a cop-out but in the end a blues album is not one that I would automatically place high on a list of preference. This is still an amazing album and, alongside Muddy Waters, has really changed my opinion on how good the blues can be which is in itself rather impressive.

So, if you are feeling adventurous or like the blues you would be a fool to give this a miss.

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