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B.B. King

B.B. King always has a lot to smile about.
B.B. King always has a lot to smile about.

Audiences first encountered B.B. King in the '50s, thanks to the blues guitarist and singer's relentless touring of the so-called "chitlin' circuit" and a series of memorable recordings. But that was just the beginning: By crossing over to a rock audience in the '60s and '70s, King played a crucial role in popularizing blues among several generations of new listeners. It wasn't always easy, and he's never been the most talented bluesician to walk the earth, but he is the most persistent. Now, as one of the last surviving major blues stars of his generation, he continues to enjoy the enduring respect and affection of fans worldwide. Although his tour schedule isn't quite as hectic these days, for a man in his eighties he still puts on a powerful show — his singing voice perhaps slightly dimmed by time, but his unmistakable guitar tone and vibrato still very much intact. Furthermore, King has a long history with Houston, dating back to the Duke/Peacock era, and this year's earthy One Kind Favor (Geffen) — produced by T-Bone Burnett and featuring Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" and T-Bone Walker's "I Get So Weary" — is his best new recording in many, many years.

 
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