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Six Silver Strings

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Album Review

For a recording fervently hyped as a special occasion — B.B. King's 50th album and all that — this one is surprisingly patchy in concept and erratic in execution. Five of the tracks are Miami sessions prosaically produced by longtime King cohort Dave Crawford, who also co-wrote most of them with Luther Dixon. The routine pop/rock backing tracks produce an often apathetic response from King; even Dixon's "Big Boss Man" is depressingly routine. Oddly enough, the only numbers that have any grit are the three co-produced by filmmaker John Landis (of the Blues Brothers notoriety) and Ira Newborn from the soundtrack to the former's film Into the Night. Indeed, Newborn's "My Lucille," the ultimate apotheosis to King's beloved guitar, is an underrated signature classic — even Lucille herself gets a lot of space to sing out — and "In the Midnight Hour" also strikes fire. Buy it for "My Lucille," if you don't mind the filler and the fact that the album offers appallingly short weight at just under 34 minutes. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Biography

Born: 16 September 1925 in Indianola, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Universally hailed as the king of the blues, the legendary B.B. King was without a doubt the single most important electric guitarist of the last half of the 20th century. His bent notes and staccato picking style influenced legions of contemporary bluesmen, while his gritty and confident voice — capable of wringing every nuance from any lyric — provided a worthy match for his passionate playing. Between 1951 and 1985, King notched an impressive 74 entries on Billboard's R&B charts,...
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