Saturday, February 27, 2010

B.B. KING - Live and Well 1969

B.B. KING - Live and Well 1969
BLS 6031


Although Live & Well wasn't a landmark album in the sense of Live at the Regal, it was a significant commercial breakthrough for King, as it was the first of his LPs to enter the Top 100. That may have been because recognition from rock stars such as Eric Clapton had finally boosted his exposure to the White pop audience, but it was a worthy recording on its own merits, divided evenly between live and studio material. King's always recorded well as a live act, and it's the concert tracks that shine brightest, although the studio ones (cut with assistance from studio musicians like Al Kooper and Hugh McCracken) aren't bad.
By Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide.
Five late-1960s studio tracks and as many recent concert takes add up to a solid outing. "Why I Sing the Blues," utilizing contemporary studio players who spare no energy, was a R&B hit in edited form in 1969. This was the first of several King albums produced solicitously by Bill Szymczyk.
By Frank John Hadley.
"Live and Well" features a blend of concert material from the late '60s with tunes recorded in the studio. The material is not uniformly brilliant, but there are enough high points, both in B.B.'s singing and his playing, to make this a worthy release.
The best of the live material is the menacing "Don't Answer the Door," which King shouts over a pulsing organ line and punctuates with some wicked guitar licks. "Sweet Little Angel," a staple of his songbook, is also great, especially vocally. B.B's still one of the best blues singers around, and on "Angel" he shows off the power and sense of vulnerability he can deliver simultaneously.

There are a couple of clunkers in the live offerings, however. "Please Accept My Love" has another strong vocal, but the tune is hampered by sappy lyrics. "Just a Little Love" is a sing-along that doesn't offer a whole lot musically or lyrically.

The studio work includes a genuine classic, "Why I Sing the Blues," which is surely the definitive statement on that subject. King here is again in complete command as he storms through verse after powerful verse and unleashes some of his best solos on the record, if not ever. "I Want You So Bad" is a dark blues, mournful in the way that his hit "The Thrill Is Gone" was. Again, not all of the studio material is as strong as these two tunes, suggesting that King wasn't completely on his game for this date.

Still, there are plenty of good moments on the recording, making it a good representation of B.B.'s late '60s work, when he was working toward crossover status.
By  Tyler Smith.
Sonny Freeman- (Drums),
Hugh McCracken- (Guitar),
Al Kooper- (Piano),
Patrick Williams- (Trumpet),
B.B. King- (Vocals),(Guitars)
Lee Gatling- (Saxophone),
Charlie Boles- (Organ),
Herb Lovelle- (Drums),
Val Patillo- (Bass),
Gerald Jemmott- (Bass),
Paul Harris- (Piano).
A1. Don't Answer the Door  
A2. Just a Little Love  
A3. My Mood  
A4. Sweet Little Angel  
A5. Please Accept My Love  
B1. I Want You So Bad  
B2. Friends  
B3. Get off My Back Woman  
B4. Let's Get Down to Business  
B5. That's Why I Sing the Blues


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