Arguably the most influential blues guitarist ever!
Shawn Tzu | Seattle, WA United States | 11/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I could bore you with compiling a list of the musicians in the rock, blues, jazz, and new age field who were influenced by this master of electric blues but I will refrain from doing so. Albert King was one of those whose playing inspired me to learn guitar. I thought "heck, it sounds easy enough for me to play". Aah the naive thoughts of youth! Truth be told often the easiest sounding parts are the hardest to play and play with authority. Albert plays a lot of the same licks but inflects them differently in delivery - a talent that is in and of itself notable. He finds ways to transcend the patterns that all - himself included - fall into when playing. To quote Robert Palmer, his solos combine both "torrential power and striking freshness" and his style works not only in traditional shuffle style blues but also with r & b, funk, soul, jazz, and rock stylings backing him up.
No offense intended to BB King partisans with the title of this review (or to BB himself), but the truth is the truth. BB is (and has been) a wonderful ambassador for the blues. However, if we are talking about whose stylings have been most influential, Albert comes out ahead. No one has ever played the guitar with more authority for one thing. Also, Albert combined an impeccable sense of timing, the ability to utilize dynamics effectively, a penchant for economy of notes, and the ability to subtly inflect the notes he played with an individuality that few have ever approached. His style was akin to a wrecking ball slamming into a building but also encompassed the delicate touch of a feather: one reason he was given the well-deserved nickname "The Velvet Bulldozer.". Many have sought - and still seek to - emulate these elements in their playing. As Robert Palmer astutely pointed out in the liner notes, Albert's playing is never cluttered. On this album he plays uptempo jazzier tunes, scorching slower blues, and songs where he combines his approach with music stylings then current (circa 1978).
More could be stated but perhaps the best tribute to Albert King was from Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh (who also eulogized him at his funeral in December 1992). Joe Walsh stated quite bluntly that "Albert King could blow away Eddie Van Halen with his amp on standby". Obtain this CD and listen to King live employing the various elements of his unique style. If you are infected with "MTV-itis" be warned: the songs on this disk average about 8 minutes per with some surpassing 10 minutes long. But then if you enjoy good music and biting soulful playing, you will not be disappointed."
Hats up! This is a great record, pure golden electric blues.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Almost all tunes are classics of the blues repertoire, or even jazz revisited such as "Watermelon Man". I have really enjoyed listening these pieces, the crispy riffs in the masterpiece "Kansas City" as well as the slow bars in "Blues at Sunrise", and foremost his duet with Rory Gallagher in "As the years go passing by". Don't miss it."
T. Hardy | Columbia Heights, MN United States | 06/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very solid cd! Albert King is as close to musical perfection as there will be, this is a GREAT example of why. He puts everything he has in each song, each note, each word... This cd takes you into the crowd for that concert, no matter where you listen to this cd you gain a sense of feeling for King's onstage presence; in word--captivating. Each track on here is clearly recorded and very well presented. This cd is NO gamble--you will enjoy it for many, many years."