Albert King recorded a lot in the early '60s, including some classic sides, but they never quite hit the mark. They never gained a large audience, nor did they really capture the ferocity of his single-string leads. Then he signed with Stax in 1966 and recorded a number of sessions with the house band, Booker T. & the MG's, and everything just clicked. The MG's gave King supple Southern support, providing an excellent contrast to his tightly wound lead guitar, allowing to him to unleash a torrent of blistering guitar runs that were profoundly influential, not just in blues, but in rock & roll (witness Eric Clapton's unabashed copping of King throughout Cream's Disraeli Gears)…
Albert King recorded a lot in the early '60s, including some classic sides, but they never quite hit the mark. They never gained a large audience, nor did they really capture the ferocity of his single-string leads. Then he signed with Stax in 1966 and recorded a number of sessions with the house band, Booker T. & the MG's, and everything just clicked…
The 2013 Stax Records reissue of Born Under A Bad Sign offers five bonus tracks in the form of previously-unreleased alternate takes and an untitled instrumental. The first (unused) take of the title track reveals a few differences but otherwise hits every mark as the take that ended up on the album; by contrast, the alternate take of "Crosscut Saw" includes an extra chorus tacked on the end, features a stronger King vocal performance, and all the houserockin' guitar
Curious, isn't it, how some of the greatest guitarists in post-war Blues history all shared the same regal surname? And entirely fitting. Freddie, Albert, and Earl King royally ruled the Blues kingdom with their brilliant innovations and seminal licks. All of them greatly impacted the Rock field as well. Eric Clapton cites Freddie as a major influence, while Stevie Ray Vaughan was an Albert acolyte. Jimi Hendrix did a dynamite version of Earl's 'Let The Good Times Roll.' These three kings of the electric Blues guitar played a mammoth role in defining the sound of post-war Blues guitar. Their influence remains monumental to this day.
Solid vocal and instrumental performances from several legendary bluesmen, including the dynamic "King of the Blues" Muddy Waters, guitar hero Albert King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and Big Band bluesman Bobby "Blue" Bland. Impressive, authoritative, thoroughly entertaining, and a "must" for blues addicts, old and new.
This box is separated into 4 categories by CD: Guitar, Piano, Vocalists and Chicago. The assortment is staggering…contains tracks by all of these must-hear artists: John Lee Hooker, the Kings (BB, Freddie and Albert) on the Guitar ad Chicago CDs, as well as Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Koko Taylor…on the Piano CD you get "Champion" Jack Dupree, Big Joe Turner, Dr. John AND Professor Longhair AND Ray Charles.
It's not as if Albert King hadn't tasted success in his first decade and a half as a performer, but his late-'60s/early-'70s recordings for Stax did win him a substantially larger audience. During those years, the label began earning significant clout amongst rock fans through events like Otis Redding's appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival and a seemingly endless string of classic singles. When King signed to the label in 1966, he was immediately paired with the Stax session team Booker T. & the MG's. The results were impressive: "Crosscut Saw," "Laundromat Blues," and the singles collection Born Under a Bad Sign were all hits. Though 1972's I'll Play the Blues for You followed a slightly different formula, the combination of King, members of the legendary Bar-Kays, the Isaac Hayes Movement, and the sparkling Memphis Horns was hardly a risky endeavor. The result was a trim, funk-infused blues sound that provided ample space for King's oft-imitated guitar playing.
The new Stax Classics series celebrates the iconic label's greatest stars, offering new liner notes, label discographies and 12 choice cuts from the artists' Stax catalog. This collection highlights one of the most influential bluesmen in history, Albert King, who single-handedly ushered blues into the modern era by combining his direct, urgent Mississippi blues style with contemporary soul rhythms, continually redefining the state of the genre. During his nine years on the label, the prolific artist released dozens of innovative hits and became one of the few blues artists to break through to the young, white rock crowd, influencing many of the biggest rock stars of the 60s and 70s, including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. This album includes such classics as 'Crosscut Saw,' 'Born Under a Bad Sign,' and 'Breaking Up Somebody's Home.'