Wednesday, 8 June 2016

"Live At San Quentin" by B.B. KING (2001 MCA 'Blues Classics Remastered & Revisited' CD - Erick Labson Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...The Thrill Is Back..."

Originally released 1990 on MCA Records – "Live At San Quentin" was a 13-track B.B. KING barnstormer recorded live Sunday, 25 May on the lawns of the American Prison with hundreds of convicts whopping it right from the get go.

Reissued here as part of MCA's "Blues Classics – Remastered & Revisited" CD Series (see list below) – this 2001 American disc boasts great sound courtesy of Audio Engineer ERICK LABSON. Labson has over 1000 credits to his name including most of the vast Chess, Checker and Cadet catalogue as well as rock names like Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Neil Diamond, The Who and Wishbone Ash (to name but a few). I actively seek out his remasters. Here are the bluesy jailhouse details...

US released March 2001 - "Live at San Quentin" by B.B. KING on MCA America 088 412 517-2 (Barcode 008811251727) is a CD Remaster and pans out as follows (64:09 minutes):

1. B.B. King Intro
2. Let The Good Times Roll
3. Every Day I Have The Blues
4. Whole Lotta Loving
5. Sweet Little Angel
6. Never Make A Move Too Soon
7. Into The Night
8. Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness
9. The Thrill Is Gone
10. Peace To The World
11. Nobody Loves Me But My Mother
12. Sweet Sixteen
13. Rock Me Baby
Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "Live At San Quentin" – released September 1990 in the USA on MCA Records MCA 6103 and in the UK on MCA Records MCG 6103.

The three-way fold inlay offers a few paragraphs from Dennis Jones and reissue details. His 7-piece band consisted of Walter King on Saxophone, James Bolden on Trumpet, Eugene Carrier on Keyboards, Michael Doster on Bass, Leon Warren on Rhythm Guitar, Edgar Synigal on Saxophone, Calep Emphrey on Drums with B.B. King on Lead Vocals and Lead Guitar.

His set is full of standards – fun R&B like "Let The Good Times Roll" where he encourages the men to holler to their hearts content and witty chat between numbers – like on "Never Make A Move To Soon" where he talks of being a catfish because then he might reel in women from the bay area (much to the delight of the men). "The Thrill Is Gone" elicits whoops too. He hopes that we'll all get together for "Peace To The World" (not the best of all the recordings even if it was apparently done in the studio). Better is the eight-minute slow blues of "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother" where he tells the audience "...this is for whatever ails you..." – a Blues cure-all. It ends with a crowd-pleasing boogie ("...before we get off...") where he splits the crowd in two – the right side sings, "Rock Me" and the left follows with, "All Night Long". You can hear the crowd digging it...even if it does end a tad too soon.

A lovely CD reissue and one that serves his musical legacy well...

Titles in the US-only "Blues Classics - Remastered & Revisited" CD Series are:
(1 and 2 are SUHA GUR remasters, 3 to 11 are ERICK LABSON, I've reviewed most)

1. Bad News Is Coming - LUTHER ALLISON
(1972 Gordy LP, 2001 CD Remaster + Four Previously Unreleased Bonus Tracks) - Universal 440 013 407-2 (Barcode 044001340727)

2. Luther’s Blues - LUTHER ALLISON
(1974 USA 9-track LP with 3 Previously Unreleased bonuses, 70:28 minutes)
Universal 440 013 409-2 (Barcode 044001340925)

3. Two Steps From The Blues - BOBBY BLAND
(1961 USA 12-track LP on Duke with 2 bonuses, 35:12 minutes)
MCA 088 112 516-2 (Barcode 008811251628)

4. The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues - JOHN LEE HOOKER
(October 1966 and September 1991 LPs on Chess, 2LPs on 1CD, 79:44 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 821-2 (Barcode 008811282127)

5. The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues - HOWLIN' WOLF
(January 1966 on Chess and January 1967 on Chess, 2LPs on 1CD, 66:45 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 820-2 (Barcode 008811282028)

6. Tell Mama: The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions - ETTA JAMES
(January 1968 US 12-Track LP on Cadet - 13-22 being bonuses, 57:11 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 518-2 (Barcode 008811251826)

7. Live At San Quentin - B.B. KING
(1990 13-Track Compilation on MCA, no extras, 64:09 minutes)
MCA America 088 112 517-2 (Barcode 008811251727)

8. At Newport 1960 - MUDDY WATERS
(1960 US 9-Track LP on Chess with 10-13 being 4 Mono Studio Tracks from June 1960 as bonus tracks, 44:41 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 515-2 (Barcode 008811251529)

9. Fathers & Sons - MUDDY WATERS (with Paul Butterfield, Otis Spann, Mike Bloomfield, Donald 'Duck' Dunn and Buddy Miles)
(Tracks 1-10 and 15-20 is the August 1969 2LP set on Chess in Full with Tracks 11, 12, 13 being previously unreleased - and 14 previously unreleased in the USA). (77:38 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 648-2 (Barcode 008811264826)

10. The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues - MUDDY WATERS
MCA/Chess 088 112 822-2 (Barcode 008811282226)

11. The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues - SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON
(January 1966 and January 1967 LPs on Chess, 2LPs on 1CD, 65:28 minutes)

MCA/Chess 088 112 823-2 (Barcode 008811282325)

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