On this date in history, 9/14/1984, I met a legend! I was in Los Angeles visiting a friend who lived there are that time. We went so some local country club to see B.B. King and it was my first time to witness the man and the lovely Lucille.
So many amazing memories of this show are imprinted in my consciousness…the band played a couple of songs by themselves before B.B. joined them on stage and they were fantastic. B.B.’s other guitar player was incredible, playing a very jazz influenced blues style, but once the King was up there, all attention was on him.
Most singers sing directly into the microphone, but B.B. often sang with his face about a foot away from it, and his voice just boomed out of him; that deep, rich, earthy tone that was born to sing the blues.
B.B. King – Sweet Little Angel (Live)
Then there was the tone of Lucille…oh, my my! I fell instantly in love with that sound and with the subtlety and minimalism of his playing. Every note perfectly placed, every phrase having just the right flow!
After they were done, we stayed and got to talk briefly to B.B. and the band. I shook hands with him and told him that I play guitar and didn’t want to wash my hand until some of his tone sunk into my soul. He smiled and maybe chuckled a little. Who can say how many white boys said a variation of the same words to him throughout his career?
There was a dignity and a warmth that radiated off of B.B. King. I don’t believe he had quite attained the mythical status he achieved in the last 20 years of his life, but he was certainly on course for it, and a lot of us guitar players already knew. He was the King of the Blues and I shook his hand and made him smile. I’m smiling right now…RIP B.B. King.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic