Sunday, May 17, 2015

The King is dead. Long live the King.

When BB King was born into a life of poverty 'blues' was a curiosity, if even that, unnoticed by the classes that "understood" music. It was simply something black people did to amuse themselves and their kind. There was no mass market for it and therefore no money to be made.

That little of Robert Johnson's early playing, in relative terms, survives is testament to that. BB King came to prominence at the cusp of the change in Civil Rights and regardless of race or colour to a market that few might have imagined. He didn't stop there - until last October he was touring with relentless fervour. Goodness knows how many he inspired along the way, from Clapton et al to many far more recent recruits - it was, I'm thinking, his lifelong mission.
When it came to young women playing blues - well I guess that is something that he would've approved wholeheartedly too.

Without him this would in all probability never have happened at all.
'Wild Heart' is released by Ruf Records on 29 June.

I should perhaps mention that she is playing Southampton Blues Festival (a single-day indoor event) on 27 June 2015 at Southampton Engine Rooms

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