Entertainment Weekly (10/30/98, p.117) - "...It's all standard fare for the Delta blues king, but what really invigorates this 15-track set is rollicking instrumentals....Of course, King's tremulous, church-deacon voice caroling between (Lucille's) high-tone twangs is always a thrill." - Rating: B+
Living Blues (1-2/99, p.48) - "...King is at long last back making records that resemble his brilliant live presentations...the real King has emerged once more. Blues fans everywhere, rejoice."
Personnel: B.B. King (vocals, guitar); Leon Warren (guitar); Melvin Jackson (saxophone); Stanley Abernathy, James Bolden (trumpet); James Sells Toney (keyboards); Michael Doster (bass); Calep Emphrey Jr. (drums); Tony Coleman (percussion).
Recorded at Dockside Studio, Maurice, Louisiana. Includes liner notes by B.B. King.
BLUES ON THE BAYOU won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album.
Having just turned 73, B.B. King released BLUES ON THE BAYOU as a kind of retrospective look at 50 years of playing the blues. King produced BAYOU himself and recorded it at a remote studio in the heart of Lafayette, Louisiana with the band he'd been playing with for the past 10 years. A relaxed and well-oiled feeling is felt throughout this group of songs, some of which were newly written while others are older numbers that were dusted off and re-recorded specifically for these sessions. "Blues Boys Tune" and "Blues We Like" are solidly rendered King instrumentals and "I'll Survive" is a '50s nugget softly gilded by strings and horn charts punctuated by James Sells Toney's fluid piano playing.
King's economical use of notes means that "Mean Ole World" becomes more than just a standard shuffle and "Blues Man" not only possesses a slow burn, but could easily become his trademark song. Digging deep into his considerable catalog, B.B. King shows impressive acumen towards life's potholes by pulling out numbers dealing with betrayal ("Broken Promise"), sassy, Louis Jordan-flavored relationship problems ("Shake It Up And Go"), jealousy ("Good Man Gone Bad") and despair ("If I Lost You," "Tell Me Baby").
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