What if B.B. King and Buddy Guy played NYC and nobody came?

B.B. King, 84 yr old #1 living blues icon of the world, and Buddy Guy, 73 yr old 1st runner-up, concertized in New York City last weekend, but there’s been a near-total news blackout. Here’s a review from the Financial Times of London. Meanwhile, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, British blues pretenders (as in pretenders to the throne) rated a three-column photo and full front page New York Times arts section review,

Maybe what made Clapton-Beck more newsworthy (they were mentioned in the Times’ Pop and Rock Listings on Feb 11 and 18) and King-Guy less so (they were only in the P & R listings once) were the venues: Madison Square Garden for the former, United Palace Theater (it’s at 175th & Broadway, Washington Heights) for the latter. Beck was also subject of a Times feature on Feb. 12.

But the United Palace is where the Allman Brothers Band has moved its annual NYC run, March  11 – 27 (all 13 shows of which will be streamed on Allman Bros. member Butch Truck’s subscription website; until March 11, year-long subs cost $150, less than the price of a front row seat). Any bets that the Times won’t send a critic uptown to report on that?
For those eager to know how Buddy and B.B. did together — they’ve just wrapped up a winter-long tour, and B.B.’s already announced his next dates! — here’s a write-up of their show in St. Louis on February 18. Even better, here’s a hot Youtube clip of the two of them (with Joe Louis Walker to B.B.’s right; this is from the Blues Summit Memphis, 1993) wailing on “I Can’t Quit You Baby.” 
This song was penned by Willie Dixon for the great Otis Rush, who immortalized it with his hit of 1956 (and hasn’t performed at all since suffering a stroke in 2004 — photo below by Masaki Rush).
Oh yeah, “I Can’t Quit You” is probably best known from the Robert Plant-Jimmy Page version on the first Led Zeppelin album, which sold multi-platinum in 1969. Ain’t that the blues? (Maybe not if Otis gets some royalties. . . )

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  1. says

    BB & Buddy played the Louisville Palace (an ornate old movie theater) on February 15, 2009. I wrote a short review as part of my March 2009 jazz column for Louisville Music News, and my colleague Keith Clements, who writes the blues column, devoted much of his column to this show. If interested, the urls are:
    All the best to y’all,
    /s/ Marty