B. B. KING: GUESS WHO (1972)
1) Summer In The City; 2) Just Can't Please You; 3) Any Other Way; 4) You Don't Know Nothin' About Love; 5) Found What I Need; 6) Neighborhood Affair; 7) It Takes A Young Girl; 8) Better Lovin' Man; 9) Guess Who; 10) Shouldn't Have Left Me; 11) Five Long Years.
Not that dumb a title, considering that the proceedings open with a Lovin' Spoonful cover — then again, B. B. has always been omnivorous, open to bluesy reworkings of everything from Beethoven to the Beatles. Overall, though, it is way too easy to guess who, especially since way too many songs on here dishearteningly hearken back to King's overproduced, underperformed balladeering style of the early Sixties.
Somehow, upon returning from
The major highlight should have been 'Five Long Years', perfectly tailored to suit B. B.'s blues-de-luxe formula, but it does not work too well, I'm afraid: Lucille has a tough time out there, pinned down by all the horns and, for some reason, opting for a smooth, tender tone rather than «blazing sharp» which is really what is needed. Even so, it is the most outstanding track on the entire album bar the unexpected, not-unpleasant but not-highly-rewarding surprise of B. B. playing out the gentle melancholy of 'Summer In The City'.
Some people care for the title track — I do not. It's as if King decided to mix in a little bit of that Champs-Elysées style with his blues pattern, and the cheesy sentimentality, swimming in pools of orchestral and keyboard sap, kills off all the healthy antibodies. Thumbs down.