B.B. King – One Kind Favor
It’s hard to say for certain, but I love to speculate so here goes. Talent begets talent. There’s no questioning what B.B. King did for the blues, he was a singular artist and a singular man.
First off, I’m a sucker for simple covers. Light on the text and non-imposing images that don’t scream at you. This photo is about as far off from a scream as you’ll find and man do I love looking at it.
Let’s try to decipher the thought process of the album art. Firstly, B.B. Kings legacy is well know, world round. No matter if you’re a stringent punk, or death metal enthusiast you know who B.B. King is and what he was. The photo of him here embodies him entirely. Stoic. Powerful. Peaceful.
Secondly, anyone who has stood in a place like this, calm water, trees, sounds of nature, this is exactly how it feels. The photographer knew exactly what he was doing even if he wasn’t conscious of it. Some of the best work you’ll see was an accident.
But let’s get to the elements. There aren’t many here and that’s one of the things that makes this album so beautiful. The high contrast of the photo is one of the most important elements of the album. It allows the rest of the elements to stand out and give the full effect of their importance. Lucile is absent of highlights that are light based, making her white outline form a perfect silhouette, she is of course his consummate partner.
The tree line is one of the more interesting elements, it does it’s job more than once. The darkness of the trees pushes your eyes right to B.B. more specifically his suit that intersects it. Then the shoreline that is smushed between the trees and their reflections leads you not to B.B. but to Lucile. The contrast against the dark causes you to jump over the suit straight to the guitar.
Normally leaving a subjects face so dark would be a error, but with the contrast of the skyline it frames his bust and face to perfection, notice how when you look at the album, look away, and look again, that is where you’re drawn, to this imposing and beloved figure who shared his life and music. This is your first element in the hierarchy, the strongest element there is.
Lucile is right behind him, figuratively and literally, then comes the title but only barely before the water. If it wasn’t for the red in the title you would almost lose it all together, that’s the beauty of this album, each element, so strong and so quite.
Even though B.B. has left us to soon, knowing that he may be somewhere in this state, peaceful, serene, it brings me just a little bit of joy.