Artist: B.B. King
Title: “Live at the Regal”
B.B. King was on the cusp of his 40s when the King of the Blues issued his first full-length live album, 1965’s “Live at the Regal.”
Recorded in November ’64 at the Regal Theater in Chicago, King keeps it tight and lively with a running time just over 30 minutes.
There’s not nearly as much electric guitar fury as one would expect from an album with B.B. King’s name on the spine, which isn’t to say that King’s work here is disappointing. “You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now” is a perfect slice of blues, a moored drum and bass beat that allows King to take off.
But the surprising thing, evident quickly in the opening track, “Every Day I Have the Blues,” is the introduction of funky horns. They punctuate King’s songs, but they also take the spotlight away from him. While it no doubt made for an energetic live performance in person and is perfectly fine for a King diehard, a newcomer might find the lack of his presence disappointing.
Nonetheless, King still produces an energetic and engaging live debut, especially for its running time.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.