Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Get on Down With B.B. King & Bobby Bland!

B.B. King & Bobby Bland - (Medley) The Thrill Is Gone / I Ain't Gonna Be the First to Cry

As I noted in a prior post, once Duke Records became part of the ABC family of labels, it was only a natural that Bobby Bland, now recording for ABC's Dunhill label, would be paired up with B.B. King (who had been on ABC since 1961) to record. Their two live LPs, although not the blockbusters you would expect them to be, are both very entertaining and feature some good performances. Today's selection comes from the second LP, "Together Again ... Live." After an exchange between Bobby and B.B. about whether "The Thrill Is Gone" should appear on the album (B.B. appears to be hesitant, perhaps because a live version of the song had already appared on his Live at Cook County Jail album?), Bobby forces the issue and that famous groove starts up. Although the song is King's trademark number, Bland actually handles quite a few of the vocals and interpolates his "I Ain't Gonna Be the First to Cry" (not too much of a stretch, because "I Ain't Gonna Be ..." is clearly patterned after "Thrill Is Gone"). Bland then gets the audience involved and begins doing his lady killer stage routine with a Viola Jackson, who actually proves to be a pretty good singer. Bland sticks with her for a good portion of the album track, declaring that ABC ought to sign her on the spot. (I don't know exactly what happened in regards to Viola Jackson, but I do know that a Viola Jackson did background vocals on King's "King Size" album a short time later. Any information would be welcome.) Between King, Bland, Jackson and the band (which is really on point, pulling out some great horn charts almost as if by improvisation), the medley is probably one of the strongest points on the LP.

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