BB King: The Life of Riley (2014)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Music Video-Live Performance
|Year Of Production||2014|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Jon Brewer|
Anchor Bay Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English (Burned In)||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
A music documentary won the Oscar this year for Best Documentary, an excellent movie called 20 Feet from Stardom which revealed the lives and challenges of the backup singers who played a large role in many great songs. Another documentary of comparable quality is the one released here by Anchor Bay entertainment about the great blues guitarist and singer, B. B. King. It is entitled B.B. King - The Life of Riley and was directed by Jon Brewer, who has had a long career in rock band management, record production, video sales and rentals and music documentary making. He is now working on a similar project around Nat King Cole.
This two hour documentary is an affectionate portrait of one of the great blues players who came from humble farming origins in Mississippi to become probably the most successful blues crossover artist ever with many successful songs such as The Thrill is Gone and his mega hit with U2, When Love Comes to Town. Blues fans, however, knew and loved his music long before his crossover hits. He was born in 1925 is rural Mississippi to a dirt poor family of sharecroppers. He worked in the fields from a young age but also learned to love music, eventually running away to Memphis to start his long career. He battled racism, the long hard life on the road, sometimes playing every night of the year, relationship challenges and more. Despite the challenges he is known and respected as an easy going, friendly person by those who know him. This is counter balanced by his reputation as a bit of a ladies man and a few broken marriages all of which are discussed in this film including an interview with one of his ex-wives. Many luminaries of the entertainment industry are consulted for their views on the man including Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Dr John, Bobby Bland, Ringo Starr, Bono, Buddy Guy, John Mayall and more. One of the real highlights of this documentary are interviews with ordinary people who knew him growing up including relatives, early influences, employers and many more. There is lots of interesting archival footage both of performances and interviews with him over the years plus some interview material from various television shows about his guitar style, career and more.
As a fan of blues music and B.B. himself, I was surprised by how much I got out of this documentary and how interesting it was. It is narrated by Morgan Freeman which is certainly a good choice. An excellent documentary of interest to music fans everywhere.
The video quality is very good.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The picture was sharp and clear for DVD. Shadow detail was very good. Obviously, these comments apply to the new footage and the archival footage has all the challenges you would expect but it has certainly been cleaned up as much as possible.
The colour is also very good for DVD.
There was some minor aliasing at times.
There are burned-in subtitles for people who are hard to understand.
The layer change is quite noticeable causing a significant pause.
The audio quality is excellent for DVD.
This disc contains an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand.
The music was great as you would expect featuring many of B.B.'s best tunes.
The surround speakers were surprisingly well used for atmosphere, surround effects, thunder, rain and the music.
The subwoofer supported the music.
|Surround Channel Use|
Some decent extras
The menu is good featuring scenes and music.
Extra interview material with Buddy Guy, Mick Hucknall, Ron Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Derek Trucks, Bobby Bland, Carlos Santana, John Mayall and more. Worth watching as some interesting topics are discussed.
Two songs from a 2012 performance at the Royal Albert Hall featuring Mick Hucknall, Ron Wood, Slash, Derek Trucks & Susanne Tedechi. The songs are See that My Grave is Kept Clean and The Thrill is Gone. Not spectacular but certainly worth having.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This DVD is available in other regions however I cannot find any details of its contents. It is also available on Blu-ray here and overseas.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is excellent.The extras are worthwhile.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|