My first exposure to B.B. King came in 2000, with the last song on Riding With The King album – a rather generic if totally innocuous affair with Eric Clapton. It just sounded out of time. Or timeless – at that point, I could not see the difference.
B.B. King was a landmark without meaning too much to me musically. Basic blues, reasonable and well-played. But the man himself was a landmark. He was born in 1925, he had to be. In my mind, B.B. King’s cotton-picking childhood made him close to the writings of John Steinbeck, and that would keep history flowing all the way to the modern times. He was that link, that vital connection that tied it all together. Eras and generations.
And now that he is gone – this link seems to have disappeared. Almost a month since May 14th, and it’s only now that the void has become so apparent. Somehow, things no longer seem as inevitable as they did in the lyrics of the old standard he performed with Eric Clapton fifteen years ago.