Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Blues Masters: The Very Best of Albert King

Albert King is yet anther legend that I never knew very much about. Of course, I was familiar with his name, his overall sound and (naturally) his fantastic “Born Under a Bad Sign”. But I never really realized just what a phenomenal and original guitar player he really is! I think I tended to consider him to be another B.B. King stylist and while he has some similar features, he has his own style – punctuated by sweet, sustained, bent notes – that truly mark him as a genius player and an inspiration to many rock legends!

This collection starts off with a couple of fine tunes – “Let’s Have a Natural Ball” and “Don’t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong”, but it is really his work for Stax in the mid-60’s with Booker T and the MGs backing him up that really takes off!

There’s some good variety in this collection, from the instrumental “Overall Junction” to “Oh, Pretty Woman” ( a groovin’, minor-key blues, not the Roy Orbison number) to the funky "Crosscut Saw” to the a-fore-mentioned “Born Under a Bad Sign”, but all solidified by Albert’s fluid guitar lines.

He has a couple of “talking blues”, such as “Cold Feet” and “Blues Power”, which are not my faves, but his guitar work is still so good throughout that you can’t dislike it.

He had a couple more R’n’B hits with “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” and “That’s What the Blues is All About” and rightfully so, as they are swinging numbers!

There are several Albert King collections out these days and they’re all pretty solid, but if you’re a fan of superb blues guitar, definitely pick up one of them!