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Life Of Riley (Blu-ray)

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Product Details

  • Actors: B.B. King
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Universal Music
  • Release Date: June 2 2015
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,178 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

B.B. King: The Life of Riley [Blu-ray]

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I highly recommend seeing/buying this excellent biography of BB King. It is told through interviews with him and people who knew and/or performed with him, and includes lots of performance footage but not complete songs. You really see the poverty and racism he and other Blacks in the American South endured and get a better understanding and appreciation of the blues music.

King was truly a wonderful, kind and humble human being. He probably did more to raise the status of blues music than anyone else. I had always known him as a guitar player, but really he was most famous as a blues singer with hit songs, and what a great voice he had! As a guitarist, he had a great and unique sound and style and vibrato but he also had limited technical skills, as he openly admits. For example, he had to be the lead player in the band because he cannot play chords and sing at the same time.

This film was shot near the end of his life, so it does capture all the important events, achievements, albums, etc. Also, it is well filmed in high definition (except for the old footage). The film looks and sounds very good. My only complaint is that it does not give full performances of songs from his peak period. However, there are 2 full bonus songs from late in his career, but with guest guitarists who are featured more it seems.

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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
A great portrayal of of the life of blues icon BB King. A must have for fans of the blues!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Denise Salamin on June 20 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The item was neat and delivered fast .
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pete Rock on Sept. 20 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 95 reviews
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
BD review - In-depth doc on the nearly-90 year old blues icon - with great bonus footage June 11 2014
By Steve Ramm - Published on
Format: Blu-ray
It's hard to belief that blues Legend B.B. King will turn 90 years-old next year and still tours the world, "three weeks on; three weeks off". Until recently he would play over 300 nights each year.

Surprisingly, no one had made a filmed bio of his life and career - until now, that is. This new film (2014) has been making rounds of the film festivals and now comes to home video on Bluray and DVD (and there is a companion CD as well - from universal Music Group. (I was provided an advance screener of the BD). (UPDATE 6/17- There will not be a physical CD release of the soundtrack; it will only be available as download with no notes or booklet.)

This is a must see for anyone interested in the blues, whether pioneers like Robert Johnson, Bukka White (B.B. King's cousin) or the other famous blues "King"s - Albert and Freddie, or even "the next generation" like Clapton, Jonny Lang or Derek Trucks. Director Jon Brewer weaves some archival interviews with lots of contemporary ones along with historic photos (most, it seems from the B.B. King Museum in Mississippi). Brewer got nearly every one you can think of (and some who don't often give interviews) to sit down and tell their stories. Let me start with just a FEW folks who he got on camera: Ringo Starr, LeonRRussell, Dr. John, Joe Walsh, Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Green, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Winter, Slash, Carlos Santana, Bono, Aaron Nevelle, Susan Teseschi, Derek Trucks and Micj Taylor. Impressed? You should be. Most has a chance to play with, or record with King.

But there are not just celebrities here. B.B.'s 2nd wife discusses the effect of his touring on their marriage and relatives and original band members are here too.

The basic film ruins 123 minutes and that is long for a documentary. But Brewer had to leave almost 30 minutes of interviews (with the celebrities) on the cutting room floor and there are 13 bonus interviews - each just over two minutes - in the "Bonus section". The other bonus feature is "Live at Royal Albert Hall" which has King singing (not playing) the traditional song "See That My Grave is Kept Clean", with a NOLa beat, on stage with Tedeschi, Trucks, Ron Wood, and Slash, followed by his major hit "The Thrill Is Gone", where he plays Lucille but leaves the solos to Slash. This clip runs about eight minutes. Since the documentary has no room for full performances, these two numbers give you a chance to hear a whole song.

The visuals and sound on the BD are great. The BD and DVD are not being released by any of the major video labels but, rather, by Music Video Distributors. This title is a real coup for MVD. (I'm not sure why the majors didn't grab it.) As noted above "Mr. King" - and Lucille - are still touring and still making music. As King says in the most recent interviews included (many King interviews over a 30 year period are expertly pieced together by Brewer to address an issue), he'll just keep playing till he just can't play no more.

Five Stars all the way!

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.
Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great Film, Poor Sound Mix and Mastering March 27 2015
By Andrew P. Wheeler - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
So, the reason I cannot rate this five stars is because there are severe sound mixing issues with the DVD. If I could put on close captioning, that would address the issue. But this DVD does not allow me to put on closed captioning. It is a very simple, cheaply produced DVD with only the bare essentials. I think the DVD discmaker really cut some corners. How is the film? Well, the film would be great if I COULD ACTUALLY HEAR BB KING SPEAKING DURING INTERVIEWS. But any time the backing music comes on, it drowns out the voice of the narrator or anyone else speaking. I have tried this in different players and tvs and computers to no avail. The sound mix is just bad. There are AWESOME video clips, interviews, from the 40s to present day. This is an unbelievably well put together documentary about my favorite blues man of all time, The Chairman of the Board, the King of the Blues! But I have to say, the sound mix ruined it for me. Do I buy another? Or write to the company? I am so let down. I have been looking forward to this for months, literally.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Wow! I, foolishly, thought that I knew everything about BB King....because of what I read or heard. I didn't! May 31 2014
By Dj - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase

Starts with BB's birth; progresses thru youth and exposure to hearing and playing music; to performing locally and....eventually...performing all over the word.

Ends with thoughts about his end of life.

I felt every emotion available to me. I am going to buy a few. This man has influenced world wide musicians; has met presidents, religious leaders, etc......AND HAS REMAINED HUMBLE. In fact, every year he returns to his "little" hometown.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The first half is great - the second half is mediocre. July 27 2014
By Alf Katz - Published on
Format: DVD
This is a full length biography of one of the greatest and most influential blues artists of the 20th century. The first half of the documentary will be enjoyed by diehard blues fans telling the story of B.B.'s rise from a shack in Mississippi to become the most popular and succesful blues artist with African-American audiences including interviews with family, friends, fellow musicians and Joe Bihari, one of the owners of Modern, where B.B. had his many great early hits. Much of the commentary is by B.B. himself drawing on recent and vintage interviews with some of the gaps being filled by Morgan Freeman. By the time he had recorded his groundbreaking live album "Live At The Regal" he was beginning to get recognition by white audiences and in particular the English blues and blue-rock bands and much of commentary in the second half of the documetary is with members of the Rolling Stones, Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Jonny Lang, Bono, Bruce Willis and many more. Obviously these people are significant to B.B.'s later career but it seems to me that too much time is spent discussing the significance of these artists which seems gratuitous particularly considering how much material they are trying to cram into 115 minutes. After about 1964 we see practically no African-American faces other than B.B. even though he influenced hundreds of black blues musicians who are continuing his tradition but since many of those artists working today don't have worldwide recognition I guess they are not considered important. Watching this documentary you really don't get an appreciation for how much impact B.B. had on other African-American blues musicians and African-American music in general. To sum up I found the first half of the documentary consistently rewarding, the second half unbearably dull and obnoxious. Caveat emptor. (FS)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Thrill is Anything But Gone Sept. 16 2014
By Steven Kerry - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Don't be confused by the title: this is a very well done, detailed doc about the life of B.B. King. I found it most engaging and it includes some startling footage. Don't miss it if you are a fan of the man's music and unique, highly influential guitar style. I won't bash modern day digital production, knob-twirling "D.J.s", and the computer generated sounds of today for to create those sounds takes talent as well, but if you're interested in roots musicians that played every lick from their heart and soul, check this out. It's excellent.

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