Results for B.B. King

interviews

Buddy Guy

Blues legend and fellow Chicagoan Buddy Guy visits the show this week. The 70-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is back in town for a month-long stint at his club Buddy Guy's Legends. The club has been a mainstay for blues in downtown Chicago for more than a decade, but Buddy recently announced that he is being forced to find a new location. As residents and Sound Opinions listeners know, the city is not always kind to music clubs, but in his interview with Jim and Greg, Buddy stresses the need to maintain such venues. Our hosts also recommend listeners check out the bluesman at his best — live and stripped down at Legends — while they can.

One thing that makes Buddy Guy's music so unique is his sense of melody. He explains how he will listen to spiritual and gospel music on the radio as inspiration. As Greg states: he's trying to imitate the voices. He learned this from B.B. King and went on to inspire vocalists like George Benson. Another musician who inspired Buddy was Guitar Slim. Before seeing Slim play, Buddy didn‘t know how far he could go with a“strat.”Now he is known for his violent, high-energy style. This style wasn’t appreciated by his former label Chess Records, but was adored and emulated by British blues fans like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Andy Summers.

Go to episode 58
classic album dissections
Live At the RegalLive at the Regal available on iTunes

B.B. King Live at the Regal

B.B. King was the face of the blues for much of the world. Sadly, we'll never get to hear him play his trusty guitar Lucille again. He passed away on May 14, 2015 at age 89. To honor the late great bluesman, we're offering a Classic Album Dissection of his Live at the Regal concert album, recorded in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood in 1964. Jim and Greg are joined by photographer, writer, promoter and Blues Hall of Fame inductee Dick Waterman. Waterman was a long-time friend of B.B.'s and co-author of The B.B. King Treasures. He explains that while King was pleased that Live at the Regal achieved iconic status, he didn't think there was anything special about his performance that night. Had they taped any other show around that time, the results would have been much the same. Still, the masterful control that B.B. had over his raucous crowd that evening became legendary. For Jim, the album resembles a celebratory church service more than any depressing blues stereotype.

If B.B. King's on-stage persona is that of a humble, genial man, that's because he truly was one in real life. According to Waterman, B.B. devoted hours after each show to meeting with his fans as a show of appreciation for their contribution to his success. Even after the mainstream commercial success of "The Thrill is Gone," he always stayed true to his vision, never watering it down for his new white audience. He was one of the last of his generation of blues artists, but his legacy is going to live on.

Go to episode 499
news

Music News

The thrill, alas, is gone: B.B. King, international ambassador for the blues, has passed away at 89. Although the blues is associated with pain and heartbreak, King took great joy in his music, playing shows around the world non-stop until practically the day he died. King had a unique approach in which his voice was in a constant conversation with his legendary guitar, Lucille. That style was picked up by British blues-rockers like Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green, and he influenced countless others after that. Greg thinks King's iconic sound was on display as early as 1951 on his song "Three O'Clock Blues," so he plays that recording in tribute to the great Mississippi bluesman.

Go to episode 495

Music News

It all comes back to music, doesn't it? Even the great mystery of Stonehenge might have a link to song. According to U.S. scientist Steven Waller, the Neolithic builders of the British stone arrangement were inspired by“auditory illusions.”He proposes that when two identical instruments, such as ancient flutes, were played at the same time, the effect was magical and otherworldly. Perhaps, similar to this?

Move over Bill, President Obama is proving to be the politician with the biggest“X Factor”(sorry Singing Senators). First he sang Al Green at the Apollo. Now he's performing with B.B. King and Mick Jagger-and according to our critics, pretty darn well. So what's next for the executive crooner? Greg votes for some Eurythmics, while Jim anticipates the post-office rendition of "My Way."

Go to episode 326

Music News

First up in the news Jim and Greg discuss Joni Mitchell's decision to team up with Starbucks. Her first album in almost 10 years will be released on the coffee chain's Hear Music label. Jim and Greg imagine that the singer/songwriter must have been impressed with the success of Paul McCartney's recent Starbucks-released album Memory Almost Full, especially considering her notorious distaste of the music industry. One group they are surprised to hear has joined the coffee family is Sonic Youth. The alt-rockers will release a compilation on Hear Music next year.

Jim and Greg update some stories they've discussed on current shows. The first concerns pop star Kelly Clarkson. When her album My December was released a few weeks ago, our hosts talked about Clarkson's high-profile feud with BMG chairman Clive Davis. The singer appeared to be taking a tough-girl stance and defended her artistic integrity, but now she's trying to lay it all to rest. Check out her retraction.

Another topic Jim and Greg covered on the show is the scrutiny hip hop lyrics have been facing post-Imus. A recent victim is Chicago rapper Twista. McDonalds decided to pull the speed rapper from its Live Trek tour because of his“controversial lyrics.”Twista's response is that he's been making the same kind of rhymes for years, but no one cared until Don Imus said something negative about black women. He also added that he usually cleans up lyrics for kid-friendly performances.

While the gossip pages are filled with celebrities who aren't forced to pay for their crimes, singer Ron Isley is no such lucky star. He is slated to begin his five-year prison sentence for tax evasion next week, but Def Jam is hoping that Isley fans can convince the government otherwise. They sent out a petition imploring people to“call, fax or email the White House immediately to help the 64-year old cancer sufferer.”If you'd like to join in the effort you can call the President at (202) 456-1414, email him at president@whitehouse.gov, or contact the Congressional Black Caucus.

Last week Eric Clapton held the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, IL, and Greg was there to see the action. He recounts how historic it was to see Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton play together 38 years after Blind Faith disbanded. Greg's other highlights were witnessing B.B. King give what might be his final performance and hearing Jeff Beck do a beautiful rendition of The Beatles' "Day in the Life." Check out Greg's entire recap here.

Go to episode 88

Music News

Bobby“Blue”Bland died this week at age 83. The“Sinatra of the Blues”started out as a gospel singer and was also a valet and chauffeur to B.B. King. Like the blue-eyed crooner, he used the mic as an instrument and was known for his subtle and instrument approach. You can hear this on the his version of "St. James Infirmary."

Go to episode 396