When I first went on the road with BB King, it was like a dream come true. That first tour was in the winter, and I remember it was COLD and we covered a lot of miles. It was me, and guitarist Jamal Milner in his Toyota pickup truck, playing big and small cities in the Midwest...seemed like the whole Mississippi valley on both sides. It was a real race everyday to keep up with the big tour buses. We ate freeze dried noodles for lunch and had one hot meal at the show, for which we were very grateful. Every night after the show we would talk with BB in his dressing room and it was just like family. He would tell stories about his cousin Bukka White, and going to New York for the first time. He had the same manager as Louis Armstrong and could do a perfect impression of the way Satchmo talked. He said Satchmo cooked red beans and rice right there in the dressing room backstage!
He also talked about his first tour, where he and the entire band used Greyhound buses to get around. If they couldn't find a Black hotel, or some friends along the way, they would have to just wait until the next bus came along. It was not safe for Black people in the south and one could easily get killed over nothing in a little town. If you were hungry, you couldn't just go to any restaurant. You had to find a Black neighborhood or you wouldn't eat. My mother would also tell me stories about being scared to stop in towns, in a time before highways, where Black people could be lynched and nobody could do anything about it. I think BB knew that we were racing just to make the show time and keep up with the buses. This was his way of letting us know that we should be thankful that we could just check into any hotel and go to sleep without worrying about being terrorized, arrested, or worse. This ancestor was one of many who paved the way for the rest of we Black blues children, players of all types of music! They all struggled so that we might rise! So we give thanks....This is his first bus that he bought after making it big.