A collection of Albert King's recordings for Stax, Roadhouse Blues doesn't quite live up to its title, as it isn't down and dirty like the blues played at an out-of-the-way juke joint. Instead, this is slick, funky soul-blues that emphasizes the blues somewhat but certainly has a bit of the slick, keyboard-and-horn-fueled funkiness of the '70s. There are a couple of oddities here – a version of "Killing Floor" that has a vocal, a live version of "Match Box Blues" from Wattstax – but this is best thought of as a nice sampler of Albert King's somewhat unheard and definitely underrated early-'70s work.
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?
Although Albert King is pictured on the front cover and has the lion's share of tracks on this excellent compilation, six of the fourteen tracks come from Rush's shortlived tenure with the label and are some of his very best. Chronologically, these are his next recordings after the Cobra sides and they carry a lot of the emotional wallop of those tracks, albeit with much loftier production values with much of it recorded in early stereo. Oddly enough, some of the material ("All Your Love," "I'm Satisfied [Keep on Loving Me Baby]") were remakes – albeit great ones – of tunes that Cobra had already released as singles! But Rush's performance of "So Many Roads" (featuring one of the greatest slow blues guitar solos of all time) should not be missed at any cost.
Albert King doesn't require much of an introduction, he was one of the 'Three Kings of the Blues' and arguably next to B.B. he was perhaps the most popular of the many genuine blues guitarists to have been adopted by the rock world during the mid-1960s. Albert began playing in the late 40s and made his first recordings in 1953 and it is these early sessions that are the focus of this outstanding collection from Jasmine. Includes tracks "Blues At Sunrise", his fine version of Tampa Red's "Little Boy Blue" and his hit song "Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong" plus many other superb tracks. Albert King influenced many artists including Mick Taylor, Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield and Stevie Ray Vaughan. This then is Albert King's first tentative steps towards global popularity compiled in chronological order and with fully detailed liner notes.
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)…