The first time I saw B.B. King perform live was 1992 or 1993. I’m pretty sure it was my senior year of high school, but I don’t remember which side. Before I went, a guy that I worked with told me that seeing B.B. is, “like going to church.” I didn’t really understand what he meant. I spent my high school years learning about the blues, but I actually got to B.B. a little late. I knew him from The Cosby Show, but I was really into Chess Records and acoustic blues, so I hadn’t taken a deep dive.
After seeing him live, I started studying. I went for the classics, Completely Well, Indianola Mississippi Seeds, Live At The Regal, Live At Cook County, stuff like that. It was great. And, since he toured constantly, I started seeing him whenever he was within two hours of my house. I’m not sure I can say this about any other artist, but B.B. never let me down. Every album I bought was great. Every show I saw was great. I came to realize that the most famous and successful blues artist in history was vastly underrated.
I can’t imagine a human being not liking B.B. King. I love him. Now that he’s gone, I’m going to pull out all of his records and listen to them. With work and the kid, it will probably take a few weeks to get through all of them, but it’s going to be great.