B.B. King's "Blues Man" Performance Is Powerful

B.B. King, the legendary blues guitarist and vocalist, has passed away at age 89. He died in his Las Vegas home while in hospice care on May 14, 2015. King's death has deeply affected blues fans, as well as many other musicians and artists around the world. King was one of the most famous, and best, guitarists of all time. Rolling Stone ranked him third on their list of all time guitar greats. His guitar, which was usually some kind of black Gibson, was always named Lucille. Wrote Rolling Stone : "His string-bending and vibrato made his famous guitar, Lucille, weep like a real-life woman." And his most defining song? Well, it might just be King's "Blues Man."

King was known for being a hard worker, performing live well into his 70s; his last live shows were as recent as 2014. He also released dozens of studio albums over the course of his career. His first album was released in 1957, while his last was in 2008. Because of his prolific nature, there are many King videos and tracks available online, and it's well worth spending a few hours browsing through his many iconic performances.

If you are looking for some catharsis, here's his spectacular performance of "Blues Man," which builds to beautiful and phenomenal effect. It's clear from his relaxed demeanor that he is a master of the craft. King plays so effortlessly, and his warm vocals are perfectly bluesy as he sings his statement of purpose: "I'm a blues man but a good man, understand."

Like many blues songs, "Blues Man" is autobiographical. It's both sad and hopeful, and it suggests that he's a man at peace. It's a simple song, but watching him play it, it's clear that he's one of the few who could pull it off. Here are the words, which provide a bittersweet sendoff to a powerful artist:

I've traveled for miles aroundIt seems like everybody wanna put me downBecause I'm a blues manBut I'm a good man, understand

I went down to the bus stationLooked up on the wallMy money was too light, peopleCouldn't go nowhere at allI'm a blues manBut a good man, understand

The burdens that I carry are so heavy, you seeIt seems like it ain't nobody in this great big worldThat would wanna help old BBut I will be all right, peopleJust give me a breakGood things come to those who waitAnd I've waited a long timeI'm a blues man but a good man, understand