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My Kind Of Blues - The Crown Series Vol 1 (MP3), MP3 (£7.99)
Fans of vintage B.B. King who are still picking themselves off the floor or ceiling after THE VINTAGE YEARS 4-CD box set (ABOXCD 8) shouldn't change into clean clothes just yet. Ace has begun the next phase of its campaign to reissue his prime 1950s and 1960s work for the Bihari brothers' labels. In keeping with Ace's goal of issuing every B.B. King track for the Biharis of significance on CD, the spotlight now turns to B.B.'s twelve LPs which originally appeared on Crown between 1957 and 1963, all slated for reissue at mid-price with the original covers and additional related alternate, obscure and unissued tracks. The first two volumes provide both short term gratification and long term promise.
Releasing these CDs at a reduced price echoes the LPs' original budget status, which exasperated and, at least in his eyes, demeaned and limited B.B. enough to motivate him to take his quest for respect and recognition to ABC Paramount in 1962. While understanding his point of view, one can also note that those LPs, subsequently repackaged on other budget labels, nonetheless made B.B.'s music more accessible to many buyers, and the modest product placement doesn't diminish the enduring magnificence of the music. This debuting CD series, carefully and generously compiled by John Broven and prepared with Ace's exemplary sonic rigour, combines the best of old and new.
The first release in our extensive CD reissue series of B.B. King's LPs for the Crown label between 1957 and 1963, with bonus tracks including previously unissued material.
MY KIND OF BLUES saw release around August, 1960 as B.B.'s seventh Crown album. It apparently emanated from a single session about 3 March 1960 with legendary pianist Lloyd Glenn, probably Ralph Hamilton on bass and drummer Jesse Sailes providing spare but sympathetic backing. Glenn was a key to some of the best small group recordings by T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson and B.B., and this album remains a highlight. Although B.B. has taken at best an "aw shucks" approach towards other highly regarded later albums such as LIVE AT THE REGAL and BLUES IS KING, he has named MY KIND OF BLUES as a personal favorite. It shows in the music.
The minimalist backdrop and Glenn's empathy as the primary foil gives B.B. free rein as he soars from the elaborate solo introduction to You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now through an update of My Own Fault covered closely by Otis Rush for Vanguard, the shuffle Mr Pawn Broker which epitomizes the status of this LP as a basic template for the sound of Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets, and a programme of mostly classic blues by Doctor Clayton (one of B.B.'s biggest influences on his vocals and repertoire), Cecil Gant, Roosevelt Sykes, Memphis Minnie and others.
The extra tracks continue the themes of Lloyd Glenn and traditional material, with more nods to Sykes and Minnie as well as to Ivory Joe Hunter, Charles Brown (a shuffling take on Drifting Blues), Casey Bill Weldon and two more Dr Clayton songs: take 1 of Hold That Train with judicious (for once) horn overdubs and a 1972 Kent single version of Walking Dr Bill with Barry Goldberg on piano. Although the original Walking Dr Bill was the only cut from the LP to dent the charts, the CD is a rousing, cohesive and relatively intimate testimonial to B.B.'s skills and antecedents, as well as a reminder of the greatness of Lloyd Glenn as an accompanist.