Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

Astrology: ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the coming weeks it will be important for you to bestow blessings and disseminate gifts and dole out helpful... By Rob Brezsny 8/27/2014
Savage Love: Working Out the Kinks

Savage Love: Working Out the Kinks

Arts & Culture: My boyfriend of two years cannot climax or maintain an erection unless his testicles are handled, squeezed, pulled, or pressed on... By Dan Savage 8/27/2014
Best Hookah Bar

Best Hookah Bar

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

Screens: See if you can spot the common thread that is pulling at the seams of the Texas film industry. On NBC’s The Night Shift, a stock-written staff... By Matt Stieb 8/27/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Music

Bluesman B.B. King and Soul Stylist Booker T. Jones Visit the Majestic

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo


It’s the winter of 1949 down in Twist, Ark., and B.B. King is playing a cold, wooden shanty of a nightclub, when the kerosene-filled garbage can heating the juke spills over in a bar fight, lapping the place in flames. Spooked, the venue patrons spew out its door, safe but cold in the biting Ozark air. Except for King, fighting against the human tide and the blues joint’s tumbling bones to save his instrument from its kerosene doom. “[The building] started to fall in around me,” King said in an interview making the rounds on YouTube. “I almost lost my life trying to save my guitar.”

“The next morning we found that these two guys was fighting about a lady that worked in the little night club,” King said. “I never did meet her. But I learned that her name was Lucille. I named my guitar Lucille so I’d never do a thing like that again.”

King, pictured, has stayed true to his promise in workhorse fashion, keeping his six-string confidante close by, requiring her attendance at a finger-blistering number of gigs. Though he won’t beat his jaw-dropping personal best of 342 performances in a year (1956), this summer alone, the 88-year-old King of the Blues will headline 29 performances.

A cornerstone of any “Best Guitarist of All Time” listicle, King has been active since 1943, emerging from the Mississippi Delta with lightning bolts of staccato guitar and a voice like melted butter. Upon his arrival in West Memphis, Ark., in 1948, King quickly earned a slot performing and jockeying on KWEM, where the nickname Beale Street Blues Boy stuck, consolidated later to the marquee-friendly B.B.

For King and the post-war black blues musicians, there was no devil-deal at the crossroads necessary; in the form of de facto segregation in the North and the tyranny of Jim Crow in the South, black artists faced a daily and systemic demon just to get paid for a gig. By 1949, after King’s deal with LA’s RPM Records, he began his romp through the Chitlin circuit, the Jim Crow-era collection of clubs that would host black musicians and audiences.

But Jim Crow apartheid couldn’t isolate King’s reign over the blues; he became an international star with his name on ABC Records in 1962 and the 1964 classic, Library of Congress-preserved Live at the Regal. Recorded at Chicago’s historic Southside venue, King shines as an entertainer, with a seven-piece horn section providing a soulful counterpoint to the guitarist’s spine-tingling vibrato and burning R&B sonance.

Joining the 15-time Grammy winner is the maestro of Memphis Soul, the virtuosic Booker T. Jones. At his April date at the Empire Theatre, Jones traded off between a Telecaster and the Hammond organ on which he made his Stax Records fame, dropping soulful licks on each as he grooved through a staggering number of his ’60s hits and recent, stellar releases.

Though the Majestic billed them as separate performances, fans of blues, soul and awesome collaborations can only hope that these icons and improvisers will team up Thursday evening. If King joins Jones on the classic strut of “Green Onions,” any previous Faustian blues bargains will be made void, ’cause there’ll be a new deity in town.

B.B. King and Booker T. Jones

$55-$75
8pm Thur, May 22
Majestic Theatre
224 E Houston
(210) 226-5700
majesticempire.com

Recently in Music
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus