B.B. King

Just occurred to me that I’m old enough now to remember all three Kings passing. I used to love Freddie, just a bad ass, fingers flying on Hideaway, a blur. Albert, born under that bad sign, had a sound like no other, it stung, with an edge that could turn milk sour and punch up the whiskey another twenty proof. But B.B. was the classiest of the three, and the one to break really big, though I always thought he did his best stuff was when he was still making race music records. They cleaned him up a little too much for the big record labels for my tastes. But damn, he sure could pick the notes, they hung in the air, you could see each one, shimmering blue. In fact if you stop now and listen you can hear them vividly in your skull, the single notes. There aren’t many musicians that have blown notes like that, notes so perfect that years later you can hear them singly, one by one, in your head. Miles Davis, Willie Nelson, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King. Listen to them solo, note by note, in your memory. I can’t do that with Freddie and Albert, I mean I can hear their sounds, but B.B.’s individual notes are in my memory, each one like a little blue light as the sound turns visual. Funny how we see sound in our memories. I never noticed that before. Multi-media platforms inside our skulls. I can hear B.B. King playing those perfect notes, and see the notes, and visualize him playing them, and me, a much younger me, watching and hearing. All that just from thinking about B.B. King. And someone said the thrill is gone.

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