giovedì 25 settembre 2008

CD Review: B.B.King - One Kind Favor

Nonostante l'età avanzata (82 anni) e un ritiro dalle scene annunciato ormai da tempo, Mr. 'B.B.King' rimbraccia la sua 'Lucille' e ci regala uno dei miglior album degli ultimi anni 'One Kind Favor'.

Con una band da capogiro alle spalle, (Jim Keltner (John Lennon, Mick Jagger) batteria, Nathan East (Clapton) basso, e M. Dr. John pianoforte), e una serie di classici come 'Sitting On Top Of The World' e 'Midnight Blues', 'I Get So Weary', fanno (per gli amanti del genere) questo album un lavoro imperdibile.

Con 'See That My Grave Is Kept Clean' prima traccia di questo nuovo viaggio nel blues, King transita con tutto il carrozzone dalle parti di New Orleans, imbevendo la musica di magici woodo-groove, e dove la pungente voce e l'inconfondibile vibrato della sua chitarra, contrappunta ogni brano rendendoli finalmente emozionali.

Il Rè rivisita anche John Lee Hooker con 'Blues Before Sunrise', dove si sente una ritrova vecchia passione da tempo sopita. La produzione è naturalmente nelle mani del maestro T Bone Burnett, il cui tocco magico si eleva sempre più in alto ad ogni lavoro.
In uscita il (29 Settembre 2008)

Track Listings

1. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
2. I Get So Weary
3. Get These Blues Off Me
4. How Many More Years
5. Waiting For Your Call
6. My Love Is Down
7. The World Is Gone Wrong
8. Blues Before Sunrise
9. Midnight Blues
10. Backwater Blues
11. Sitting On Top Of The World
12. Tomorrow Night

Artist: B.B. King
Title: One Kind Favor
Genre: Blues
Release Year: 2008
Type: New release
Audio: CD

A cartoon in The New Yorker has a doctor telling a nattily dressed but solemn and elderly, black guitarist: "You have a case of the blues, Mississippi Red.
Fortunately, it is treatable with women, Cadillacs and big diamond rings."

Stereotypes? In the blues, recurring motifs are almost as rife as in country and western music, so what do you get when BB King says he wants to return to the old blues tracks that influenced his early days? And at 83 years old, are his voice and guitar-playing going to cut it anymore? With Nathan East on bass, Jim Keltner on drums and Dr John on keyboards, one might expect a polished backing group, especially when combined with a trademark T-Bone Burnett production giving clarity to the individual elements.

On “See That My Grave is Kept Clean”, King’s appropriately drowsy voice is underpinned by an infectious New Orleans beat that is reminiscent of Champion Jack Dupree. His singing in “I Get So Weary” is as gravelly as the grumbling sax behind it and Dr John shines again on this track. King can still conjure some fiery fretwork too, mixing characteristically sharp picking with perfectly measured, rough chords over a propulsive bass line in “Midnight Blues”. HIs take on “Sitting on Top of the World” is not as commanding as Howlin’ Wolf’s growling version, but it is a pleasure to hear.

King sticks to his dominant style of alternate singing and guitar phrases throughout, suggesting the call and response format of traditional blues.
Clearly, he no longer plays with the fluidity or dynamics evident on his 1998 album, Blues on the Bayou (also touted as a return to his roots), but he was then just a baby of 73. If there are moments now when the fretwork is less energetic and occasionally halting, he can still mount a crisp and stinging attack, as in “Waiting for Your Call”.

One Kind Favor is not merely a nostalgia trip into the world of "women, Cadillacs and big diamond rings", but a dignified and entertaining statement.
Though it’s a cliché to say that an album rewards repeated listening, that’s exactly the case here. Long may King and Lucille play on. Geffen Records.

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