B.B. King The Soul of B.B. King [Expanded]
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- Released: November 24, 2003
- Label: Ace Records UK
- 1.Going Home
- 2.The Letter
- 3.You Never Know
- 4.Please Remember Me
- 5.Come Back Baby (aka Can't We Talk It Over)
- 6.You Won't Listen
- 8.You Shouldn't Have Left
- 9.Boogie Rock (aka House Rocker)
- 10.Shake Yours
- 11.Road I Travel, The (aka Hard Luck Blues)
- 12.Eyesight to the Blind
- 13.Green and Lucky Blues - (previously unreleased)
- 14.Dust My Broom
- 15.Dreams (aka Just a Dream)
- 16.Love, Honor and Obey
- 17.Don't Let It Shock You - (previously unreleased)
- 18.A Woman Don't Care
Personnel: B.B. King (vocals); George Coleman (tenor); Connie Mack Booker (piano).
Audio Mixer: Duncan Cowell.
Liner Note Author: Jon Broven.
Arrangers: Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis ; Riley King.
As sometimes happens in the careers of blues legends who recorded for labels that recycled material in multiple formats, the release most commonly known as The Soul of B.B. King has a complicated history. The ten-track LP originally appeared under the title B.B. King on Crown CLP 5359 in 1963, getting retitled as The Soul of B.B. King in future reissues. This 2003 expanded CD reissue on Ace includes the original ten tracks from B.B. King aka The Soul of B.B. King. However, it also adds eight bonus cuts from multiple sources, including Kent singles that hadn't been anthologized on CD; a few tracks that only appeared on scattered King compilations; and two Modern label recordings that hadn't been issued anywhere, "Green and Lucky Blues" and "Don't Let It Shock You." Since the original ten-track LP was itself a vault-clearing hodgepodge of odds and ends spanning the early '50s to the early '60s, even the spruced-up CD is something for the B.B. King collector, not the general B.B. King fan. For all its lack of a thematic or chronological center, however, the expanded CD edition of The Soul of B.B. King is a pretty good collection of vintage King material, though not one of the first CDs of the great bluesman you should buy. The ten songs from the original The Soul of B.B. King include some real tough, swinging numbers with organ and horns, even if some of the tracks (like "You Won't Listen" and "Shake Yours") suffer from harsh upper-end distortion that should have been avoided in the original recording. In a different style, "Boogie Rock (aka House Rocker)" (an alternate take of a 1955 single) is a smoking instrumental. The eight bonus tracks aren't as strong, but they do of course do much to bring the collection up to speed as far as providing value for money, and include King's interpretations of two blues standards, "Dust My Broom" and Sonny Boy Williamson's "Eyesight to the Blind." Another bonus cut, the single "Love, Honor and Obey," is a highly enjoyable Latin rhythm-tinged blues number, along the lines of something like Junior Wells' "Messin' With the Kid." Ace's liner notes to the CD reissue of this unwieldy hunk of King on Kent do an admirably concise job of sorting out the confusion of what was issued when, and (in the absence of hard data) what might have been recorded when. ~ Richie Unterberger
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