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B.B. King: Guess Who

Album Notes

Personnel: B.B. King (vocals, guitar); Milton Hopkins, Cornell Dupree (guitar); Joseph Burton, Garnett Brown (trombone); Edward Rowe, Ernie Royal, Steve Madaio (trumpet); Dave Sanborn (alto saxophone); Earl Turbinton, Bobby Forte, Gene Dinwiddie, Trevor Lawrence (tenor saxophone); Louis Hubert, Howard Johnson (baritone saxophone); Ron Levy, Frank Owens (piano); Wilbert Freeman, Jerry Jemot (bass); V. S. Freeman, Bernard Prudie (drums).

B.B. King rarely departs from the foundation of the blues, but on this release, he fleshes out his characteristically spare sound with the addition of a 12-man horn section--including crack session player David Sanborn--which provides a punchy counterpoint to King's vocals and guitar playing. He doesn't indulge Lucille as much as on some other recordings, but there are still many moments of fiery axe-playing. On the album's opener, a cover of the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City," King takes the song down a few notches in tempo--minus the street noises--but keeps the song's eager spirit intact.

The album alternates between upbeat bluesy numbers, such as the swinging "Shouldn't Have Left Me" and the jaunty "Better Lovin' Man," and slow, stately numbers. The closer, "Five Long Years" contains a particularly eloquent solo, King's trademark bends and silences seeming to speak the language of his hurt soul. He delivers his most anguished vocal of the record, singing "she had the nerve to put me out..." in a manner that will give you chills.


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