Sunday, May 17, 2015

All I Can Do Now Is Wish You Well...

B.B. King died this week.  On Thursday night, in hospice care at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, the 89 year-old legendary bluesman tripped the mortal coil.  Even if you are not the morbid sort, which i confess that I am, the eloquent obituary Randy Lewis wrote in Friday's Los Angeles Times is a worthwhile read.  According to youngest daughter Charlotte King, he died peacefully, in his sleep, in his own bed.  I reckon that any of number of us, Yours truly included, would sign up right now for that exit plan. 

I smiled reading Mr. Lewis's piece as he recounted two shortcomings B.B. King overcame in forging the style that became his signature sound.  First, he could not play his guitar leads while singing, which led him to create what has been described as a call-and-response between himself and Lucille, his guitar.  Second, the thickness of his fingers, which made it difficult for him to employ bottlenecks and metal slides, lent itself to him rocking the fingers of his left hand on his guitar's frets in a way that emulated a concert violinist.     

His was a career that spanned more than seventy years and featured a touring style that had him on the road in perpetuity, playing upwards of two hundred dates (or more) a year.  He made a slight concession to his age when he turned eighty.  He cut back on the number of live dates he played annually.  Pared it down all the way to one hundred (give or take), he did.  One hundred live concerts a year at eighty years of age.  It tires me out to simply write that sentence.  

At journey's end - and perhaps somewhere Kenny Rogers smiles - Lucille did not leave him.  Nor did he ever leave her.  The King is gone.  But the Thrill?  

The Thrill remains...   


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