Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Thrill Is Gone

Perhaps no blues musician inspired more rock and rollers than B. B. King, who died last week at 89. King took the blues and made the music sophisticated, cutting, and more direct with his impeccable and indelible guitar solos and his impassioned singing. His songs - both his own and his choices of covers - reflected life and love in clear, sharp terms, and he was always the consummate entertainer. I saw him in January 2011, and though he was not exactly on the top of his game (he had a cold), he held the audience with his easy-going rapport with his audience, and he still looked great in that sharply cut suit. He always gave his best, and even when his best wasn't good enough, it was better than that of many artists. 
King's music gave rock and roll its bite and its appreciation for virtuosity, and it took the blues out of the Deep South and made it not just American music, but global music. He was the real deal in so many ways. I'm only sorry I can't find more words to say about him, and I certainly can't any more that hasn't been said already. R.I.P.

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