Albert King After "Born Under A Bad Sign".
Perry Celestino | Tahmoor, NSW Australia | 05/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This compilation is a new attempt to bring the late great Albert King to a wider, younger audience. It is great and if you don't have many of King's records you should pick this up. It consists of 11 tracks which come mostly from the latter days of the label before its demise in the middle 1970s.
The first track is the rarest and most interesting. "Born Under A Bad Sign" was the signature tune of the LP that made King's name in the 1960s. This version is the one from the 1983 Canadian TV program which became the "In Session" CD, Albert's biggest selling recording, mostly because he jams with Stevie Ray Vaughan on it. OK this is the highlight, a never before heard AK track. The playing is tight and in tune (not like on some of the In Session recording). SRV shows why he was such a King devotee. Listen to the first and last solos-they are SRV and to Albert's. SRV has precise technique in the AK style, but Albert still has the soul. Lonnie Brook's once said "People think players sound alike until they hear them together", this is a classic example. This tune is worth the whole price of the CD!
The second tune "Lovingest Woman In Town" is a live studio version done in Chicago with Willie Dixon's band. These tapes are VERY rare and were thought to be King's rarest material in the mid-1980s. There are more of these gems and they need to be released (currently some of the tunes are on the "Windy City Blues" CD). This tune was originally an outtake on an early seventies Stax session produced by (great) drummer Al Jackson, Jr. It appeared on the Funky London CD (1994). This version is very good and has horns to boot.
"She Caught the Katy" and the classic "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven" are from the underrated CD "Lovejoy" named for the town in Illinois that King called home at the time. These tunes are well produced and subtle like King's playing. Check out the solo's on "Heaven" and the great ending. This LP was cut in Mussell Shoals Alabama in 1971 when Atlantic was farming out work in order to screw Stax and take the record royalties. This started with Aretha Franklin and then the late Wilson Pickett.
"The Sky Is Crying" is another gem from Mr King. This is the original version from Albert's first studio album "Years Gone By". The solos in this piece are superb. The bending is magnificent and soulful, It is amazing how King took a classic slide tune of Elmore James and turned into a masterpiece of vibrato drenched bends. However, the alternate take of this number originally released on the "Hard Bargain" CD (1995) is much better and longer. It should have been included on this CD.
"Don't Throw Your Love On Me Too Strong" was Albert's first chart hit in 1961. This interesting live version is from his famous Fillmore sessions. This tune is included in "Wednesday Night in San Francisco" released in 1990 during one of the later post-1960s Blues Revival periods. The extended version is great but has no horns and an economic, bearly adequate, lackluster backing band. The bassist is not very good. But Albert, as usual, rises above it.
"I Love Lucy "is a tune from King's famous "King Of The Blues Guitar" record of 1966. This single was added onto the LP to make it different (for Atlantic) than the Stax "Bad Sign" record. The tune is a risque soul song about Albert's guitar named "Lucy" (Like B.B.'s "Lucille"). As much as Albert denied it, he did copy B.B., a lot (But not in playing style!!). Listen to the micro-tone bends at the end of the song-It is some of his best playing and you can see why SRV, Hendrix, Clapton and others (Me) loved him!
"Can't You See What You're Doing To Me" was a later Stax single with the Bar-Kays. The signature bass riff is outstanding as is Albert's neck pickup solo-what great overbends- an inspiration to Buddy Guy at the time. This single had Albert's famous instrumental version of James Brown's "Cold Sweat" on the flip side.
"Angel Of Mercy" is one of the greatest minor key blues ever written. The subject matter (down and out) is classic. I love the bends in this tune-the best Albert ever did except in "Don't Burn Down the Bridge". The opening is very clever and a first in blues-pre-bending (ghost bending) on the introduction. The tune was a single that was added to the "I'll Play The Blues For You" LP of 1972. A classic tune!
"Oh, Pretty Woman" is the second version of this song, not the original on the "Bad Sign" LP. It was written by the WDIA DJ AC "Mooah" Williams and is one of the funkiest blues ever written. In this version from "The Pinch" LP (later released in CD as "The Blues Don't Change") is a true funk masterpiece. Great bass line. The only problem with the tune is that it's too short and should have cooked for longer! The Stax people had done this before, but with a much longer version, revamping the classic "Crosscut Saw" on the "I Wanna Get Funky" LP. But this tune is very short. But it's still good!
"I'll Play The Blues For You" is the closing tune. This is one of Albert King's most famous tunes and his most famous one from the 1970s. It has a great beat, wonderful changes and some great. soulful guitar playing. However, I have always thought the electric piano solo with the sax in the background the weak spot on the tune. This song was written by Sandy Jones who wrote King's first Stax hit "Laundromat Blues"
That's the set list. It is definately worth getting if you are new to Albert King or have a limited collection of his work. The opening tune makes the entire CD (clever marketing!) and perhaps the set should have been called "Born Under A Bad Sign-Part 2:the 70's""
Gruftie53 | 05/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
it's not 'SOUL' (imho)
but it's the way to 'SOUL'
I bought it as an impression of the variety of STAX' sound
Albert King, Stax Profiles
Christopher M. Bean | Rockville, MD | 09/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If your a fan of the blues you have got to love Albert King and this CD release gives all the reasons why he's the real "King of the Blues". Without detailing every track just listen to "Born Under a Bad Sign" and you will hear why Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton were his protege's."