B.B. King, June Milington
Saturday, Feb. 2, $49.50/$65, 8 p.m., all-ages
Riley B. King grew up on a plantation in Itta Bena, Miss., before migrating to Memphis, Tenn., in 1947 to start his music career. After living and learning the blues from cousin Bukka White (an accomplished player in his own right), King made his breakthrough performance on harmonica great Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio show.
Sixty years and over 10,000 shows later, King and his trusty guitar Lucille still travel the country as blues royalty. He toured globally until last year, when he cut back for health reasons.
Over the last decade, King has continued to record quality albums. He’s collaborated with Eric Clapton (Riding with the King in 2000) and a host of other big names (B.B. King and Friends: 80 in 2005), recorded a record-full of tunes by jump blues bandleader Louis Jordan (Let the Good Times Roll in 1999) and fronted a large orchestra on his most recent studio release (Reflections in 2003). King’s new album/DVD combo, due out later this month on Geffen/UME, is another in a slew of live recordings, this one simply titled Live! The record was recorded last October at blues clubs in Nashville and Memphis.
B.B. cemented his place in blues history with his classic Live at the Regal, recorded in 1964 at the Regal Theatre in Chicago. His other live albums are still heads and tails above most live recordings (including Live at the Cook County Jail, Live at San Quentin and the underrated Live in Japan), blues or otherwise.
Somewhere in the world right now, you can be sure that there’s a blues band playing
“The Thrill Is Gone,” “Sweet Little Angel” or “How Blue Can You Get.” You can also be sure that they’re nowhere close to the original. You can hear the real thing this Saturday at the Murat. Guitarist June Milington will be opening.