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BB King: London Calling

As the 70s kicked in BB King was playing to a whole new audience of white kids. Then he decided to leap across the Atlantic to cut the classic In London with the British rock elite...

After 15 years as the undisputed king of the blues, BB King released some of the strongest records of his career as the 60s drew to a close. While the two albums he recorded in 1970 – Indianola Mississippi Seeds and Live In Cook County Jail – did tolerably well on the charts there was concern among the people at his record company that someone who should be a household name was still something of a cult figure.

Across the Atlantic, however, the British blues boom was at its peak and The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions, recorded in May 1970, had established a template whereby an American blues original might have his career reinvigorated via an association with the young bucks of the Big Smoke.

King was then with ABC Records in America, where Jay Lasker, president of its small but conspicuously successful subsidiary label, Dunhill, had been given a remit to bring the entire ABC roster into the modern era.

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