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B.B. King CL Recommends

When: Sun., Jan. 12 2014
Price: $54.50-$149.50
B.B. KING

On the Mount Rushmore of American music, all four faces would be B.B. King’s. His origins are as mythic and possibly as apocryphal as the tale of George Washington chopping down that cherry tree. (King’s beloved guitar Lucille was supposedly named after a woman who sparked a bar fight-cum-conflagration that almost claimed B.B.’s life, as well as his guitar.) Sprung from the blues-haunted Mississippi Delta, King drew on fretboard elders like T-Bone Walker to devise his left-handed vibrato, every-note-counts attack and fluid string bends that mimic human singing. Though closely identified with the country blues of the Delta, King is a surprisingly urban synthesist, fusing pop, jump, jazz and R&B into blues-based tunes that inspired modern rock acolytes like guitar gods Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. At age 88, King plays sedately seated these days, in a chair resembling a high-backed throne. The master is more likely to spin yarns than the stinging single-string leads of yore, making his concerts less a show than a chance to pay tribute to the once and future king of American music. (Pat Moran)

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