Saturday, March 6, 2010

B.B. KING - Completely Well 1969

B.B. KING - Completely Well 1969


The first thing that amazes me about this album is that no one has given it a review. I figured that this album would be a staple in anyone's album collection (especially you blues fans!). Right from the start, B.B. tells the listener that he is gonna rock your socks off. "So Excited" comes roaring into your speakers and gets your toes tappin'. Throughout the album, B.B. does a great job of playing some upbeat blues ("You're Losin' Me" and "Confessin' The Blues") mixed with some slow ballads ("Key To My Kingdom" and What Happened"). Not only do you get an all-out blues jam with "You're Mean" but you also get one of the greatest blues songs of all time with "The Thrill Is Gone." This song is what the blues is all about and it sounds wonderful with strings in the background. All I have to say is put your CD player on 'repeat' when this song is playing. From beginning to end this album is extremely satisfying!
One of B.B. King's first pop-inclined efforts, this CD features the support of rock- and blues-raised session players. King's progeny, in a sense. Keyboardist Al Kooper is the most notable, but it's guitarist Hugh McCracken who engages the master in a six-string duel on the jam "Cryin' Won't Help You Now/You're Mean." The album also contains King's breakthrough hit "The Thrill Is Gone." King didn't particularly enjoy the tune when he recorded it. But when he returned to the studio the next day to hear the strings that were added to sweeten its chorus in his absence, he was as taken by the transcendent, majestic sweep they lent his performance as the rest of the world was soon to be. Indeed, his visceral vocal and stinging guitar leads define the bittersweet aftertaste of lost love. While the sheen of the hit's production stands out among this album's cuts, the unvarnished emotion of its lyrics is what the blues is all about. By Ted Drozdowski.
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.
By Cub Koda, All Music Guide.
Bass- Gerald "Fingers" Jemmott
Drums- Herbie Lovelle
Guitar- Hugh McCracken
Guitar, Vocals- B.B. King
Piano, Electric Piano, Organ- Paul Harris
A1. So Excited 5:34 
A2. No Good 4:35 
A3. You're Losin' Me 4:54 
A4. What Happened 4:41 
A5. Confessin' The Blues 4:56 
B1. Key To My Kingdom 3:18 
B2. Cryin' Won't Help You Now 6:30 
B3. You're Mean 9:39 
B4. The Thrill Is Gone 5:30 

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