Letter: BB King was moved by the warmth of the public embrace at the Albert Hall

Giles Oakley writes: The first album by BB King that I acquired, BB King – Live at the Regal (1964), still raises the hairs on the back of my neck

The first album by BB King (obituary, 16 May) that I acquired, BB King – Live at the Regal (1964), still raises the hairs on the back of my neck, and I saw his first British performance, at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in 1969. At that point BB was still performing to a predominantly black audience at home, overshadowed among white blues fans either by Chicago bluesmen such as Muddy Waters or “rediscovered” acoustic country blues artists such as his cousin Booker White. BB seemed uncertain how to project himself. Then, when he unfurled the first of his sinuously spine-tingling guitar solos the audience reaction was extraordinary, enveloping him in a warmth of public embrace that visibly moved him. Every time after that the bond of deep affection between performer and audience was there.


Giles Oakley

The GuardianTramp

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