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Life of Riley [Blu-ray] [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Mvd Visual
  • Release Date: July 1 2014
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Most helpful customer reviews

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
22 of 24 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 Amazon.com
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"
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Really good July 10 2014
By wondermagott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Really Awesome movie. Lots of things to learn, both about the King of the Blues and about the troubled times of segregation. Also lots of things to learn about old blues artists that influenced BB King. Movie to be watched over and over. Love the movie, love BB, love the blues!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
B.B. King: The Life of Riley on Blu Ray. Must have. Sept. 12 2014
By Steve Douglas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
If you have any love or interest in the blues no matter who your favorite blues master is, BB King must be in contention for the title and this Blu Ray is must viewing and viewing again to gain any understand of the man, the guitarist, blues, and its history.

Using a great amount of archival footage as well as current and past interviews from the blues progeny of King such as Bonnie Raitt, several former and current members of the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, John Mayall and even Ringo Starr pay him verbal homage. But to me, the best and most interesting part of this 2 hour film is the use of archival footage and interviews of close as well as distant members of the King family, to explain and explore both the origins of the blues as well as the development of BB King to grow to be the master that he is. BB King himself is frequently included in the discussions and explanations and lends thoughtful and sincere credence to both the success of the blues, how it crossed over to white audiences and his rise in fame.

The quality of the blu ray itself is good..nothing great, the archival footage appears as truly old as it is, and that's the way it should be. The lossy audio codec, although 5.1 is really more 2.0 but, for this biography of BB King, I do not think it makes any difference.

While BB King may be 89 years old now, this film was made when he was 85 and considerably past his prime as a guitarist and singer. One of the extras are a couple of songs recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in England and though Ron Wood, Slash and others sit in on 'The Thrill is Gone', it is clear that the guitar is now used more as a prop than an instrument that BB is playing. But his voice is still there if not as powerful as it once was.

As I initially said, this DVD is very, very worth having and watching multiple times.
I do hope that this review has been of some help to you in deciding upon your purchase.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Decent enough bio, but lacking in the music department Aug. 8 2014
By Thomas Raven - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I saw BB in concert in the early 80s and that show ranks among the very best concert experiences of my life. The man is truly great in every sense of the word and this documentary strives for greatness too. It's too bad it falls somewhat short. The key, and I mean KEY, missing ingredient is the music. There's almost no talk about who wrote the songs BB made famous and almost no talk about his particular playing style. There are tiny snippets of songs, but not much in terms of performances here. For a documentary about one of the greatest blues guitarists who ever lived, that simply isn't good enough.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
BB KING June 27 2014
By Tito - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I love BB King and have been too his museum in Mississippi
This is his story and is simply amazing/
There are only two bluesmen left alive and BB is one of them.
This is his story and it is amazing

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