Riley B. King
What I really love about the song is the story about how it got recorded. Here is an excerpt from the LP Lucille liner notes; “It was during the taping session,” recalled producer Bob Thiele, “we were taking a break when I noticed B.B. doodling on the guitar. He was idling through some runs and started telling me the story of ‘Lucille’. I grabbed the switch, signaled the engineer, and flipped him on live.”
And so the story of Lucille, B.B. Kings’ talented Gibson guitar, was unfolded in one take just as Thiele heard it; free, honest, extemporaneous, a duet that weaves and reminisces for well over 10 minutes. It’s told in a talking blues style, slow and excitingly fluid, with lacy guitar work accenting King’s thoughts. Of hearing a man talk to this instrument. Of hearing it answer.
Riley B. King (September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015), known by his stage name B.B. King. B. B. stood for Blues Boy, a name he took with his first taste of fame in the 1940s. His peers were bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, whose nicknames fit their hard-bitten lives. But he was born a King, albeit in a shack surrounded by dirt-poor sharecroppers and wealthy landowners.
Rest in peace Mr. King.
Joe Carbone, Jr.
About the Author: Joseph Carbone, Jr.