Riley “Blues Boy” King (September 16, 1925 – For absolutely ever)
“Each note to me counts for something, you don’t play them just to play something”
B.B. King is a century of Blues Music history, a century of guitar playing knowledge and a legendary artist who will not be left out of any conversation about the Blues. The prime among the three kings of the Blues, B.B. had created his unique recognizable tone, signature vibrato and an image of kind and loving gentleman which he most certainly is. After learning of and about BB King, one can only wish for the man who had been living with diabetes for over 20 years and performing over two hundred concerts a year, a great feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment.
Among other great things, B.B. King is one of the few Bluesmen left who was born on a Mississippi cotton plantation. The city of Indianola gave him most warm memories of home even though it may not have been the city of his birth. In his teens, B.B. had moved to West Memphis to find work and met Sonny Boy Williamson who at the time had to audition everyone who walked through the door. Young Riley King impressed Williamson and got himself a job as a disk jockey on a radio station calling himself a “Blues Boy” which later turned into BB.
King recollects buying his first acoustic guitar at the age of 12 from a man who wanted $15 for it while $15 was B.B.’s monthly wage. Fortunately for the whole Blues world, B.B.’s employer at the
The time began to show signs of fatigue from extensive decades of touring and in fall 2014
When talking about Blues guitar, BB King’s “Lucille” is one of the most known
Lucille is not a single instrument though. B.B. has many of the same custom made guitars that are all called Lucille and he continues to accumulate them regularly via new orders or presents. It seems that B.B. King favors Fender’s Twin Reverb amplifier and signature Gibson Electric Guitar Strings.
One can spend a lifetime attempting to share all of
B.B. King to
Throughout my guitar journey, I never attempted to imitate Mr. King’s style with the legato and melodic phrasing with combining both Blues and Jazz influence in his playing. However Mr. King is unique in my reasons for it. Some I don’t copy because they are not my style or preference. B.B. King, on the other hand is both to me but it is almost as if I treasure Mr. Kings playing and don’t want to insult him by attempting to make a cheap replica out of it.
When I’ve heard of Mr. King falling ill on stage, I was troubled, the kind of troubled when your life that you love and treasure is being taken away from you. It was felt and it was real worry which both made me happy and sad. I was glad to see sincere appreciation for the man who crossed the journey from the Delta to rural and made Blues popular. At the same time I felt saddened that I came to love the Blues at a point where shaking Mr. Kings hand and telling him how much love he had put in my heart might never be anything but a cherished dream.
Mr. King has opened my eyes and reinforced my hope that I am where I belong. Everyday I have the Blues because B.B. King had taught me how to have the Blues and most of all how to love it.