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.
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.'
9CD reconfiguration of original Atlantic box set, featuring every A-side the label released during those nine years, as well as several B-sides. The set is a definitive portrait of gritty, deep Southern soul. For any serious soul or rock collector, it's an essential set, since Stax-Volt was not only a musically revolutionary label, its roster was deep with talent, which means much of the music on this collection is first-rate. 11 of these singles charted on Billboard.
CDs from this collection began to appear in the sale of one after the other in early 1998. The collection was designed primarily for fans of blues and those wishing to join him in France, Canada and other French-speaking countries, as its literary part was originally made in French and it seems and has not been translated into other languages.
Atlantic's original vinyl edition of this was comprised of Albert's Stax singles – a few from Born Under a Bad Sign, along with "Cold Feet," "I Love Lucy" (two of King's patented monologues), and the beautiful "You're Gonna Need Me." Great stuff. Even greater, though, is the CD reissue, which includes those singles (which didn't appear on any other LPs) and all of Born Under a Bad Sign. Need I say more?
Recorded in 1968, along with LIVE WIRE/BLUES POWER and Thursday NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO, this Albert King concert album shines the spotlight on a blues legend playing at the height of his powers. On this seven-song set at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, the St. Louis-based guitarist truly gets his mojo working and schools the predominantly hippie crowd in the ways of the blues, offering up sinister, simmering takes on classics such as "I Get Evil" and "Born Under a Bad Sign." Although King is backed by a band on this date, the group is wise enough to stick to minimal accompaniment, allowing King's bold, expressive vocals and electrifying lead work to carry each song. As on LIVE WIRE/BLUES POWER, King opens with an upbeat cover of Herbie Hancock's soul-jazz hit "Watermelon Man," proving that the staunch bluesman could certainly mix it up if he felt so inclined. While many other fine King live recordings are available, this is one of his best–essential for devoted fans.