I Love Blues Guitar » B.B. King – Sweet Little Angel

B.B. King – Sweet Little Angel

“Sweet Little Angel”, also known as “Sweet Black Angel” or “Black Angel Blues”, is a blues standard that has been recorded by numerous blues and other artists. The song was first recorded in 1930 by Lucille Bogan, one of the classic female blues singers. Bogan recorded it as a mid-tempo, twelve-bar blues, featuring her vocal with piano accompaniment.

In 1956, B.B. King recorded “Sweet Little Angel” (RPM Records 468). According to King, “I got the idea for ‘Sweet Little Angel’ from Robert Nighthawk’s ‘Sweet Black Angel’, though I later discovered that the song had been recorded by someone before Nighthawk. At the time ‘black’ was not a popular word, as it is now. Instead of using the old title, I changed it to ‘Sweet Little Angel’ and that was a pretty big record for me”. King’s version, which included a horn section, was a stylistic shift for the song and it became a hit, reaching number eight on the Billboard R&B chart. In 1957, he re-recorded “Sweet Little Angel” for his first album Singin’ the Blues. Both versions prominently feature B.B. King’s guitar work, with his note-bends “sounding almost like a lap steel in places.”

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