The B.B. King Treasures

By B.B. King and Dick Waterman

Packed with amazing photos, album artwork, removable memorabilia, and detailed first-person recollections, The B.B. King Treasures chronicles the life of the world’s best known and most beloved bluesman, Riley B. King—“The Beale Street Blues Boy.” The beautifully designed and printed 160-page hardback also includes a one-hour audio CD with more than a dozen interviews and two previously unreleased songs, cut with a full band in 1962 and 1971.

We follow King through his childhood in Indianola, Mississippi, and then move on to Memphis and the first years of his career performing on WDIA radio. Kings’ decades spent working the chitlin’ circuit and later as a globetrotting star are thoroughly documented, as is his current status as elder statesman of the blues. It’s a highly visual journey with page after page of eye candy, as well as reproductions of posters, postcards, ledgers, contracts, concert programs, tour stickers, receipts, and even a vintage business card.

King made music during turbulent times, particularly in terms of civil rights, and many of his quotes shed light on what it was like to be an African-American musician during the days of segregation. But King always tells his stories without rancor, and his honesty, humility, and respect for other musicians—many of whom add testimonials of their own—shine through his words. The man is very observant, and it’s fascinating to explore American history and the evolution of blues, rock, and the electric guitar through his eyes. If you love King’s music, this book will draw you even deeper into its embrace. Bulfinch Press. —Andy Ellis