BB King recalled with love, humor at funeral

1 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Always a rotten apple’: BB King, poison and the daughters of an infertile legend.

INDIANOLA, Mississippi: B.B. INDIANOLA, Miss. – Silvan Zingg had traveled more than 24 hours from Lugano, Switzerland, to attend the funeral Saturday of his hero, Mississippi bluesman B.B. King’s early life personified the blues: He was born to dirt-poor sharecroppers in the cotton country of the Mississippi Delta and left alone by the deaths of his mother and grandmother when he was a child. “Hands that once picked cotton would someday pick guitar strings on a national and international stage. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, a friend of King, read out a letter from Obama, which stated that “For those of us here in Indianola and around the world, B.B.

He’d been with King at a funeral a few years earlier, and he said King had told him: “I want you to pay special attention to the lyrics of the lead song on my new album.” King’s favorite bluesman was Blind Lemon Jefferson, who sang a song called See That My Grave Is Kept Clean. More than 200 people who couldn’t get into the sanctuary watched a live broadcast of the funeral in the church’s fellowship hall, many waving hand-held fans with a black-and-white photo of a smiling King hugging his black electric guitar, Lucille. At the beginning of the service, family members filed past King’s open casket, which had an image of Lucille embroidered on the padded white cloth inside the lid.

King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola. “He had a nice personality, knew how to talk to people and treat people how he wanted to be treated,” friend and bluesman Big George Brock, 83, said after the service. “He was the king of the blues.” Ten days after King died at age 89, five days before he returned to the Delta, two of his daughters signed affidavits saying they believed he was murdered. Karen Williams and Patty King didn’t trust his longtime business manager, LaVerne Toney, who had power of attorney and controlled his finances and medical care. He’d met a lot of women playing 300 shows per year, and he had a saying, according to Sawyer: “If a woman is pregnant, and she says you’re the father, the only question to ask is: ‘Is it possible?’ And if it’s possible, it’s yours.” But Sawyer, the biographer, said King also told him something else, a second piece of information that seemed to contradict the first.

This assertion had long been forgotten in his portrait of a blues legend now stalked by family intrigue: King and his second wife couldn’t have children, and he took a fertility test that showed his sperm count was too low to conceive. In any case, King took responsibility for 15 children, including Patty Elizabeth King, who later went to prison for cocaine trafficking. (She is one of the two making accusations against King’s business manager; their attorney, Larissa Drohobyczer, told the Guardian: “They have the right to know how their father died.”) “There are always – I don’t want to call them this, but – there’s always a rotten apple in the barrel,” King’s son Willie said in an interview Friday afternoon. “And sometimes you can take hurt, and turn it into something that it should not be.

And I think out of the anger of losing their dad, they went to the extreme. “I pray that the public don’t really accept them as an angry person like that, because being my sisters, they are not like that. And they attacked the wrong person.” On Saturday outside of the BB King museum, a crew from Wilbert Funeral Services laid down straw to cover the mud by the namesake’s empty grave. King, who rose from sharecropper in the area’s flat cotton fields to worldwide fame as a blues singer and guitarist who influenced generations of entertainers. (May AP “He had that touch on the guitar that nobody else has ever had,” Lasalle said. “It was that music that came out of his guitar — ‘Lucille.’ They made magic together. Wanda Clark, the project coordinator for the Mississippi Blues Trail, had taken on the task of finding two white horses in a line. “White horses just aren’t common around here,” she said. The media would ask who I was when I was with him at different shows across the country, and he would say, ‘Well, we’ll just have to see, won’t we?’ “He loved for me to cook for him.

And so a worker found a way to dye the straps, and there they were on Saturday afternoon, holding up BB King’s coffin, chain-like and nearly golden, letting him down into the ground.

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