Thirty days ago today we lost a blues legend B.B. King. Since his passing we have been reminded of his surely earned accolades; revisited our favorite song of his; watched his live performances on YouTube; wondered what will become of his guitars; marveled at his longevity; tuned into his life celebration and home going ceremony; and are currently watching the aftermath of his passing among his family—those who loved him the most and have experience his love—are struggling to find reason and understanding of his death.
As time marches on, we remember B.B. King in so many ways. I have a special and fond memory of King in a recording studio. I was lucky enough to have had the privilege of watching him record a song. As luck would have it, my good friend Alma Ramirez, who has work in the production end of the music business with many notables, was project coordinator on B.B. King’s 37th studio album Let the Good Times Roll: The Music of Louis Jordan. Knowing I was a fan she invited to come and witness King in action. Once I arrived, I quickly found out that King wasn’t the only legend in the studio. There I witnessed King in conversation with Dr. John, drummer Earl Palmer, and saxophonist Hank Crawford! Needless to say I was floored. I watched them interact for a while. In time they moved to their places—Dr. John slid behind a piano, Palmer climbed behind his drum set, and Crawford disappeared behind a sound partition were his sax and an expensive mic awaited his presence. Before you knew it there was a quiet count in and they began to record the Louis Jordan song “Jack, You’re Dead”. I was amazing and I watched it all happen before my eyes.
To watch legends work out their craft in the studio is a rarity for most of us and to have seen King lead Dr. John, Palmer, and Crawford is something I will never forget. Thanks Alma!
Listen to what I had the great luck to see!