Music Reviews

Albert King

Talkin’ Blues

Thirsty Ear Recordings

It is impossible to overstate the impact and influence that Albert King and his upside down Gibson Flying V – “Lucy” – had on blues guitarists and listeners. Dead a little over a decade now, King’s stinging guitar sound and his willingness to place traditional blues in a soul backing make his music as popular now as ever. His classic Born Under A Bad Sign, recorded with Booker T. and the MG’s on the Stax label, moved King from playing dive bars to the stage of the Fillmore, and brought him the respect and attention of players such as Eric Clapton and later Stevie Ray Vaughn, who considered King his mentor.

This 1978 recording is fine, fine Albert King. Starting with “Bad Sign,” his fluid guitar, gruff voice and a punchy horn section are a virtual textbook on how live blues should be done. He then slows the proceedings down with “The Very Thought of You,” and his subtle guitar and melodious voice prove him the equal of any blues crooner around. This disc also contains an interview with King, which while both insightful and humorous, is interspersed between the live cuts, making listening to the songs a choppy experience. This is easily overcome, and blues fans will relish the discovery of more live material from one of the masters of the form.

Thirsty Ear:

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