Rolling Stone (3/18/71, p.41) - "...The guitar playing on COOK COUNTY is as good as the man ever plays: he is in top form from beginning to end..."
Personnel: B.B. King (vocals, guitar); Booker Walker (alto saxophone); Louis Hubert (tenor saxophone); John Browning (trumpet); Ron Levy (piano); Wilbert Freeman (bass); Sonny Freeman (drums).
Recorded live on September 10, 1970 at Cook County Jail, Chicago, Illinois. Includes liner notes by Geoffrey Harding.
Digitally remastered by Erick Labson at MCA Music Media Studios, North Hollywood, California.
B.B. King has long been known as a road warrior who regularly plays over 300 dates a year. One of his most noted and unusual gigs, LIVE AT COOK COUNTY JAIL, occurred on September 10, 1970. Performing before 2,117 inmates with minimum security, King took his "captive audience" through a set peppered with staples of his impressive canon. Backed by a punchy horn section and peppering the set with his trademark quick licks, King immediately won over the audience. Of course, one of the most enduring facets of a live B.B. King show is the neighborly relationship he quickly establishes with whoever might make up his audience. The nearly 10-minute version of "Worry, Worry, Worry" finds the King Of The Blues discussing relationships and matters of the heart whereas "Sweet Sixteen" and the medley of "3 O'Clock Blues" and "Darlin' You Know I Love You," are a spoken mini-tour of his early catalog. Forming a neat bookend is the inclusion of "The Thrill Is Gone," King's only Top 20 hit that came off COMPLETELY WELL, his studio album of the previous year.
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