The stars pay homage to 87-year-old Blues guitar legend Riley B.King in this thought provoking biographical documentary, which features Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, Bobby Bland and Buddy Guy among others. Mr Cool himself Morgan Freeman, does the voiceover as we’re we are taken on an extraordinary journey beginning with Kings life on the farm as a child, through to the blues legend he has now become. After the untimely death of his mother, King was forced into arduous farm work and cotton-picking from the age of seven. If that wasn’t bad enough, while growing up in pre-war Mississippi, B.B.King was exposed to a world where racism was a deadly and real daily threat. King says that seeing a Ku Klux Klan mob hang a young black boy “was something I never forgot”.
To its credit, Jon Brewer’s film digs deep into his roots, as the film pieces together his path to success, from the Memphis musicians who were willing to help him learn to play the guitar, through to his spot as a DJ at an all black radio station, where he acquired his nickname, Blues Boy, later shortened to BB, and finally to the internationally respected Blues player he has now become.
King, who turned 87 in September, is also a great singer, and one of the greatest guitarists in history, he also comes across as a genuine and warm person, that must be some testament to his character given his upbringing.
There are plenty of memorable moments in this film, one is when the Governor of Mississippi declares a B.B.King Day, (in the state in which he saw the KKK hanging ) King is moved to tears. There is also a wonderful, yet rather to short snippet from a concert King gave at the White House with Mick Jagger, in which Barack Obama joins them on stage. A truly wonderful moment.
Another touching moment is when Morgan Freeman steps out of his role as narrator to offer his own eloquent tribute to King while looking straight through the camera, to you, the viewer.
This film is a seriously impressive tribute, totally engrossing, with a stunning soundtrack, and certainly something I could watch again and again. A very impressive 10/10.
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About David Farrell

General Manager and 'THE' competition guy at planetmosh.com. Manager of The Goddanm Electric www.thegde.co.uk, Tour manager for Serpentine, and ex-general Dogsbody at Hammerfest.co.uk. Media partner to numerous bands. Also takes photos, writes reviews and likes classic rock, with a touch of thrash to get the blood flowing.