BB King – Live At The Regal (1965)

Live at the Regal is a 1965 live album by American blues guitarist and singer B.B. King. It was recorded on November 21, 1964 at the Regal Theater in Chicago. The album is widely heralded as one of the greatest blues albums ever recorded and is #141 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[5] In 2005, Live at the Regal was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in the United States.

Some musicians, including Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, John Mayer and Mark Knopfler, have acknowledged using this album as a primer before performances.

Track Listing:

1. “Every Day I Have the Blues” Memphis Slim 2:38
2. “Sweet Little Angel” Riley King, Jules Taub 4:12
3. “It’s My Own Fault” John Lee Hooker 3:29
4. “How Blue Can You Get” Jane Feather 3:44
5. “Please Love Me” King, Jules Taub 3:01
6. “You Upset Me Baby” Joe Josea, Maxwell Davis 2:22
7. “Worry, Worry” Davis Plumber, Jules Taub 6:24
8. “Woke Up This Mornin'” King 1:45
9. “You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now” King, Joe Josea 4:16
10. “Help the Poor” Charlie Singleton 2:58

Review: B.B. King is not only a timeless singer and guitarist, he’s also a natural-born entertainer, and on Live at the Regal the listener is treated to an exhibition of all three of his talents. Over percolating horn hits and rolling shuffles, King treats an enthusiastic audience (at some points, they shriek after he delivers each line) to a collection of some of his greatest hits. The backing band is razor-sharp, picking up the leader’s cues with almost telepathic accuracy. King’s voice is rarely in this fine of form, shifting effortlessly between his falsetto and his regular range, hitting the microphone hard for gritty emphasis and backing off in moments of almost intimate tenderness. Nowhere is this more evident than at the climax of “How Blue Can You Get,” where the Chicago venue threatens to explode at King’s prompting. Of course, the master’s guitar is all over this record, and his playing here is among the best in his long career. Displaying a jazz sensibility, King’s lines are sophisticated without losing their grit. More than anything else, Live at the Regal is a textbook example of how to set up a live performance. Talking to the crowd, setting up the tunes with a vignette, King is the consummate entertainer. Live at the Regal is an absolutely necessary acquisition for fans of B.B. King or blues music in general. A high point, perhaps even the high point, for uptown blues. — Daniel Gioffre

Schill Score: 9.5/10

Listen to Album on Spotify

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