Volume 91, Issue 49
Tuesday, November 25, 1997
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
B.B. King has got a new album and this time he's brought along some friends. King has enlisted some of the biggest names in music from a variety of genres hip-hop to country, with loads of rock and a little jazz. Deuces Wild is a smoothly produced album, filled with King's trademark blues riffs and a tight backing band.
The list of big-name collaborators on this album is impressive. The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Tracey Chapman, Bonnie Raitt, and even Heavy D, give their own styles to King to work with. Since King has never professed to be a blues purist, his amalgamation of different styles doesn't come off as calculated or pretentious.
As with any album with a variety of performers on it, some tracks are noticeably a lot better than others. Eric Clapton's playing on "Rock Me Baby" comes off rather dispassionate, though Van Morrison's "If You Love Me," is one of his best songs in years. Heavy D's contribution, "Keep it Coming," is quite a departure for King. Willie Nelson's duet with King on "Night Life," is also great. The country-esque blues sound comes out slowly, but it grooves along so nicely, you wish it would never end.
King's career has been a long and glorious one and the fact there is a group of great musicians out to honour him is touching. The man can turn a standardized blues song into something so much more, with just a couple of notes from his guitar. A genius like B.B. King doesn't come around too often. Dueces Wild is proof he is one of the greats who can bring the blues into the mainstream of music and make it sound new again.
Death In Vegas
Although this debut release from Death In Vegas is being tagged as yet another mainstream electronica record, it is actually much more versatile and varied than the label allows. Dead Elvis is a record undoubtedly rooted in electronica, but its strength lies in its ability to encompass other genres and sounds effectively. The result is an eclectic and involving album.
Richard Fearless, the brains behind the band, is an unorthodox individual. Born in Zambia and raised in England, Fearless' hobbies include cow-tipping, junk collecting and midnight golfing. It is no surprise the songs on Dead Elvis are every bit as eccentric and extraordinary as the man behind them.
From the breakbeat-accented cover of The Specials' "Twist and Crawl," to the bluesy twang of "All That Glitters," Dead Elvis is a record too diverse to classify. It is unfortunate that Fearless' penchant for experimenting is going to be what ends up hurting him; there are no songs on Dead Elvis commercial enough to give Death In Vegas the mainstream success they rightly deserve. Nevertheless, Dead Elvis is highly recommended for those looking for something just a little bit different.
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