Liner Note Author: Dick Shurman.
The title of Ace's 2016 compilation Here's One You Didn't Know About: From the RPM & Kent Vaults is no lie. This set rounds up 25 alternate takes of songs B.B. King cut in the late '50s and early '60s, 23 of which are making their debut here (the other two popped up on the 2014 Ace compilation The RPM Story, Vol. 2, so they can't be called overly familiar). If these sides don't deliver much in the way of surprise -- usually B.B. didn't attempt a different arrangement or tempo on the alternate arrangements, so these alternates find him and his crew attempting to create the right vibe -- it nevertheless is a pleasure to hear the young King woodshedding his distinctive styles as a guitarist and vocalist. Often, it's the guitar that pops: the single-line leads jump and slash, often propelling the songs and providing a reason to listen to these otherwise familiar-sounding alternate takes. Certainly, this is the kind of thing that appeals primarily to the hardcore, but for that group of fans, this is a pleasure. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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