Picks and Pans Review: Deuces Wild

updated 12/15/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/15/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

B.B. King

Leave it to Riley B. King to remind us whence pop's many disparate styles sprang. Rap, rock, R&B, country—all were steeped, if not born, in the blues. And they are all represented here in this album of duets teaming the veteran bluesman with disciples from rock (Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, the Rolling Stones), folk (Tracy Chapman), R&B (D'Angelo), country (Marty Stuart, Willie Nelson) and hip hop (Heavy D). No vanity project, the album is a loving construction from start to finish and nears perfection at moments, as when King's stately guitar chimes with an inspired Van Morrison vocal performance on "If You Love Me," and his resonant tenor entwines with Simply Red's Mick Hucknall's aching vocal on Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love." King, who began his career back in the 1940s as a Memphis disc jockey known as the Beale Street Blues Boy, is 72 now, but if he's showing any age, it's in his face and not in his music. (MCA)

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