A guest post from longtime B. B. King fan, James Green.
Someone once said that getting old was like crossing a frozen lake on thin ice. You look around you and see your contemporaries one by one falling through. And you know there’s no turning back. I was having such maudlin thoughts yesterday as I listened to B.B. King and Bobby “Blue” Bland singing “Ain’t it Funny How Time Slips Away” on B’s album 80. Two old bluesmen, reminiscing, “and it seems like only yesterday,” and it did. Bobby’s gone now, and now B.
Two years ago I sat outside in the sultry Virginia twilight, me and a couple of thousand others, waiting for B to take the stage. It was the usual concert crowd, the true believers mixed in with the rowdier, louder “here to be seen”. But when B walked on, everybody settled down. I couldn’t see him at first, but there was no mistaking that Lucille was there just as procacious and just as timeless as she ever was. B sounded tired, and he didn’t last long, and it was sad. So sad I even left early, B and Lucille closing out the set with “You Are My Sunshine.”
It’s one of those things we put up with as we see the world we’re accustomed to erode away bit by bit only to be replaced with a new one that we only marginally understand. B and Bobby are gone, along with the Wolf, Muddy, and Jimmy Reed. Ain’t it funny how time slips away.