I saw B.B. King only one time. The summer of 1985 on a high school football field in El Paso, Texas.
But I heard him my whole life. And now the man who admittedly lived within the realms of the open Pentatonic scale and played very little rhythm guitar has passed.
B.B. King’s primary gift to me was this: It was possible to play a single note and still be recognizable to those inclined to pay attention. His left-hand vibrato was recognizable to me, no matter what unexpected cameo he was liable to make on the album of another.
One note was all it took; his attack, his vibrato. His soul.
His beloved guitar, Lucille, now lays quiet—and like the post-Henson Kermit-the-frog—the thrill might be there in the hands of others, but the soul is certainly gone.
A beautiful tribute. We shall all miss him.