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Blues Boy: B.B. King, a tribute in pictures.

The B.B. King Treasures: Photos, Mementos and Music from B.B. King's Collection by B.B. King and Dick Waterman Bulfinch Press, September 2005 $40, ISBN 0-821-25724-2

It's always a pleasure to see someone celebrated while they are still alive. Many musicians' life stories often come about too late in their life, when they are no longer able to smell the roses. But in the case of legendary bluesman B.B. King, Bulfinch Press has put together a worthy tribute. The B.B. King Treasures contains more than 70 pictures that span King's colorful career.

There is one photo of a very young B.B. with a very young Elvis Presley. Another of B.B. with President Bill Clinton; a funny snapshot of Rufus Thomas trying to coax B.B. and singer Millie Jackson to do the Funky Chicken. There's even a shot of B.B. and Lucille with the late Pope John Paul II. The book also includes pictures of King's home roots in the Mississippi Delta--shacks, juke joints and plantations. King himself took many of the pictures.

One unique feature of the book is the many copies of posters from his vintage collection. One dated January 9, 1956, is for the show at the Cafe Royale in Lake Charles, Louisiana. His special guests for the show were Ike and Tina Turner. There's another poster for a show at New York's Rockland Palace with B.B. "Blues Boy" King and his entire orchestra, Dee Clark, The Drifters, Hal Page and the Kansas City Whalers, and Doc Bagby's Organ Orchestra. The price tot that 1961 show was a mere $1.75. My favorite poster from the collection was the one from the 1960s, with King as the third act behind The Byrds and the Electric Flag. This one shows the acceptance that King had in the world of psychedelic rock.

The text could stand easily on its own, even without the extras. A 60-minute CD also comes with the package, containing previously unreleased interviews and recordings. King and some of his friends and fellow musicians share behind-the-scenes stories that are compelling without embellishment. You don't have to exaggerate when your music has survived rock and roll, Motown, the British Invasion, hard rock, Memphis Soul, the Sound of Philadelphia, disco, punk, new jack, new wave, and neosoul.

Anthony C. Davis lives in Philadelphia and is a regular reviewer for BIBR.
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Title Annotation:The B.B. King Treasures: Photos, Mementos and Music from B.B. King's Collection
Author:Davis, Anthony C.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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