The latest Ace reissue of the Crown label's B.B. King catalog is "Blues For Me" from 1961. Re-titled "More B.B. King", this disc is augmented by hard to find Kent 45s from the early to mid sixties.
"Blues For Me" was actually a gamble for its time. Blues sales were suffering, and the label owners, the Bihari brothers, wanted to market B.B. outside of the Blues audience. As a result, two of the tracks here, "Don't Cry Anymore" and "My Reward" are ballads with strings. B.B. displays range and a crooning talent that would appear years later in his collaboration with Diane Shuur, "Heart to Heart".
"Bad Case of Love" and "Get Out of Here" feature some truly magical B.B. guitar solos, and B.B. had the good taste to revisit "Bad Case of Love" in 1998 on the highly recommended "Blues on the Bayou". "Bad Luck Soul" is the most adventerous selection here with its stop-time horn arrangement. Two instrumentals close out the original album, the B.B. penned title track and Louis Jordan's "Just Like a Woman".
The eight bonus tracks are Kent 45s, some appearing for the first time on cd. "You're Gonna Miss Me" is a Muddy Waters country blues updated with B.B.'s urban approach, and "I Wonder Why" features the great saxophonist Plas Johnson of "Pink Panther" fame.
Now in his seventh decade as a recording artist, B.B. King's music is a very accessable form of blues; really there is something for everyone. "More B.B. King" adds to this collection with some music that has been overlooked for far too long.