Monday, May 04, 2009

Albert King - King of the Blues Guitar (Atlantic, 1989)

With his large physical stature and trademark Flying-V guitar, bluesman Albert King cut an imposing figure who was very influential in rock, blues and soul circles. This album collects King at the height of his powers, recording for Stax Records in the late 1960's and backed by the incomparable Booker T. and the MG's. This music is a fine melding of blues and soul - King's booming, yet subtle voice and great guitar are on display throughout the album. King was never flashy and he rarely overplayed, but always seemed to play the right not at the right time. Among the influential performances on this album is "Born Under a Bad Sign" and "Crosscut Saw," two compositions that would be envied and covered by countless rock 'n' roll bands of the time. King's stinging guitar is notably featured on some very cool instrumentals like "Funk Shun" and "I Love Lucy." Also notable are the songs "Personal Manager" and the dark ballad "As the Years Go Passing By" which mark the emotional epicenter of the collection. The music found here is almost all excellent, some of the finest of King's career. If there is any criticism to be made it is with the muddy sound of the CD, which at 20 years is due for an overhaul to give it the presence and quality that music of this stature richly deserves. But that is a small quibble - if you are interested in blues or soul music, you should find much joy here.
King of the Blues Guitar -

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