Sings Spirituals [Bonus Tracks]

Sings Spirituals [Bonus Tracks]

by B.B. KingB.B. King


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For a good part of the '50s B.B. King recorded for the Bihari Brothers' RPM and Kent labels, and the brothers would, in turn, issue collections of these singles on LP as part of their discount Crown Records series. B.B. King Sings Spirituals originally appeared as a Crown LP in 1959, but it was less a collection of singles than a true labor of love for King, who took it as an opportunity to return to the Baptist and Pentecostal church music of his childhood. It's easy to forget that King isn't just a blues player with a particularly distinctive guitar style, he is also a singer, and in the '50s he really worked more to the R&B side of the field than to the blues half, and, as these tracks show, his roots were always deep in gospel. The instrumentation here is sparse and appropriate to the spiritual material, just organ, piano, bass, and drums with tons of handclapping and choral support, and absolutely no guitar. King's singing here is a bit of a revelation to those who only know him for his blues work, as he breaks loose and sings vigorously on numbers like the rollicking "Ole Time Religion" and a stomping "Army of the Lord." This is B.B. King, one supposes, before the thrill was gone. He sounds absolutely jubilant. [This Ace reissue adds in a generous eight bonus tracks of period singles and alternate versions, some of them decidedly secular, including the stunning "I Am," which shows unequivocally that King is an explosively expressive singer when he chooses to be, and a curious horn-driven version of Merle Travis' "Sixteen Tons" that was released in 1955 as a single at the same time as Tennessee Ernie Ford's hit version of the song.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/25/2006
Label: Ace Records Uk
UPC: 0029667017428
catalogNumber: 1093
Rank: 35523

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