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BLUES & GOSPEL

Al King -> Albert King

 

AL KING
 


ALBERT KING

 

AL KING Forevermore 4601 Blues Master ● CD $14.98
15 tracks, 41 mins, highly recommended Though not a familiar name, Al King (aka Alvin K. Smith) was an excellent West Coast blues singer with a smooth but powerful vocal style. He was an excllent songwriter too, often taking familiar sayings and turning them into blues songs - Think Twice Before You Speak (with the classic line "I ain't no dentist/ But I'll get your teeth out free")/ Everybody Ain't Your Friend/ Don't Put Off For Tomorrow and others. He also covers a couple of Lowell Fulson songs Reconsider Baby and Blue Shadows and makes them all his own. These recordings were made between 1964 & '68 for the Shirley, Flag and Sahara labels. He is accompanied by excellent small bands and what elevates his recordings from excellent to outstanding is the incredible guitar playing of Johnny Heartsman - a truly talented and innovative musicians. A few of the tracks are listed as being unissued but they show up in the discography as being issued. Remastering could be a little better but is generally very good and there are informative notes by Chris Biehler. (FS)

 
AL KING Forevermore 4604 It's Rough Out Here ● CD $14.98
First album of new material by West Coast singer King in over 30 years.

 
ALBERT KING Ace CDCHD 827 More Big Blues ● CD $18.98
22 tracks, highly recommended A most welcome reissue featuring all the sides made by this great and influential singer and guitarist for Robert Lyons' Bobbin label in St. Louis between 1959 and 1963. Albert first came to national attention with his 1961 recording of the great Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong which was picked up for distribution by King Records and became an R&B hit. King subsequently bought all the masters of Albert's Bobbin recordings and his contract in 1963 and cut one forgettable session with him (not included here). Although he had no other hits for Bobbin his performances are consistently fine with powerful emotional vocals and searing slashing guitar that influenced generations of blues guitarists. A great collection of slow intense burners and rocking up tempo numbers with a fine band. There are three previously unissued alternate takes included. Sound quality is superb and there are notes by the indefatigable Ray Topping. Wonderful and invaluable music. (FS)
ALBERT KING: Blues At Sunrise/ Blues At Sunrise (previously Unreleased)/ Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong/ Dyna Flow/ Got To Be Some Changes Made/ I Get Evil/ I Walked All Night Long/ I'll Do Anything You Say/ I've Made Nights By Myself/ I've Made Nights By Myself/ Just Plain Blues (oo-ee Baby)/ Let's Have A Natural Ball/ Need You By My Side/ Old Blue Ribbon/ Oo-ee Baby/ This Morning/ Time Has Come, The/ Time Has Come, The (previously Unreleased)/ Travelin' To California/ What Can I Do To Change Your Mind/ Why Are You So Mean To Me/ Why Are You So Mean To Me (previously Unreleased)

 
ALBERT KING Atlantic 8213 King Of The Blues Guitar ● CD $11.98
Great! The cream of the crop from Albert's first Stax LP, with 6 bonus tracks for a total of 17 high-voltage cuts. Many of these mid-60's numbers, like Laundromat Blues/ Oh Pretty Woman/ Crosscut Saw/ Born Under A Bad Sign are electric blues classics. The rest, especially - Personal Manager/ I Almost Lost My Mind/ As The Years Go Passing By/ Cold Feet/ You're Gonna Need Me are just super, and certainly to be counted among King's most memorable sides. (MB)
ALBERT KING: As the Years Go Passing By/ Born Under a Bad Sign/ Cold Feet/ Crosscut Saw/ Down Don't Bother Me/ Funk Shun/ I Almost Lost My Mind/ I Love Lucy/ Kansas City/ Laundromat Blues/ Oh, Pretty Woman/ Overall Junction/ Personal Manager/ The Hunter/ The Very Thought of You/ You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain/ You're Gonna Need Me

 
ALBERT KING King Blues KBCD 471 Mean Mean Blues ● CD $8.98
ALBERT KING: I Need You By My Side/ I Walked All Night/ I've Made Nights By Myself/ Just Plain Blues/ The Time Has Come/ This Morning/ Travelin' To California/ Why Are You So Mean To Me

 
ALBERT KING King 852 The Big Blues ● CD $9.98

 
ALBERT KING Rhino 75703 The Very Best Of Albert King ● CD $11.98
Excellent 16 track collection featuring some of Albert's best sides from throughout his career
ALBERT KING: Answer To The Laundromat Blues/ Blues Power/ Born Under a Bad Sign/ Breaking up Somebody's Home/ C.O.D./ Cadillac Assembly Line/ Cold Feet/ Crosscut Saw/ Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong/ I'll Play the Blues for You, Pt. 1/ Laundromat Blues/ Let's Have a Natural Ball/ Oh, Pretty Woman (Can't Make You Love Me)/ Overall Junction/ Personal Manager/ That's What The Blues Is All About

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8513 I'll Play The Blues For You ● CD $12.98
ALBERT KING: Angel Of Mercy/ Answer To The Laundromat Blues/ Breaking Up Somebody's Home/ Don't Burn Down The Bridge/ High Cost Of Loving/ I'll Be Doggone/ I'll Play The Blues For You/ Little Brother

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8517 Lovejoy ● CD $12.98
Reissue of 1970 album - somewhat more commercially oriented than his previous Stax albums with quite a few songs written by blues/rock singer Don Nix.
ALBERT KING: Bay Area Blues/ Corina Corina/ Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven/ For The Love Of A Woman/ Going Back To Iuka/ Honky Tonk Woman/ Like A Road Leading Home/ Lovejoy, ILL./ She Caught The Katy And Left A Mule To Ride

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8522 Years Gone By ● CD $12.98
11 cuts including Killing Floor/You Threw Your Love On Me Too Strong/Sky Is Crying.

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8534 The Lost Session ● CD $12.98
An excellent previously unissued set of recordings that were only recently discovered in the Fantasy vaults. This album features 10 songs recorded in 1971 produced by British blues interpreter John Mayall who also plays on this album. The rest of the band is a mixture of jazz and blues musicians including sax players Clifford Solomon and Ernie Watts and trumpeter Blue Mitchell who appear on a few cuts and jazz drummer Ron Selico. The drumming, in particular, with its syncopated rhythms gives the recordings a jazz flavor that is rarely heard in Albert's work. His singing and playing, though fine, are a little more restrained than usual which might explain why it wasn't originally issued.
ALBERT KING: All The Way Down/ Brand New Razor/ Cold In Hand/ Down The Road I Go/ Money Lovin' Woman/ She Won't Gimme No Lovin'/ Stop Lying/ Sun Gone Down/ Sun Gone Down/ Tell Me What True Love Is

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8536 I Wanna Get Funky ● CD $12.98
Reissue of Stax 5505 from 1974. Albert was in fine form on a selection of blues and soul flavored items with fairly luish arrangements featuring the Barkays, The Memphis Horns, vocalgroup Hot Buttered Soul and, on a couple of tracks, The Memphis Symphony Orchestra. However this is, for the most part, integrated effectively with Albert's solid blues vocals and mighty string bending. It includes a remake of one of his first hits Crosscut Saw, a superb version of the minor key soul ballad Walking The Back Street & Crying plus Playing On Me/ Flat Tire/ Travelin' Man/ That's What the Blues Is All About, etc.
ALBERT KING: 'Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone/ Crosscut Saw/ Flat Tire/ I Can't Hear Nothing But The Blues/ I Wanna Get Funky/ Playing On Me/ That's What The Blues Is All About/ Travelin' Man/ Walking The Streets And Crying

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8546 Blues At Sunrise ● CD $12.98
Those relentless vault-probers at Fantasy Records have provided us with a newly discovered live tape from the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival, and it is amazing. Aside from the previously issued For The Love Of A Woman this disc is an all killer, no filler, King-sized thriller. Potent vocals throughout, and when he makes that guitar talk you better hold on to your beret and listen up good. Nobody wrings as much emotion out of an amplified wire, and on this day he was ON, boy; we're talkin' about slash and burn playing with a level of inventive genius that other recordings only hint at. The recording (by Swiss radio engineers) is less than perfect but who cares - this music is the real deal and the ticket is a steal. (MB)
ALBERT KING: Blues At Sunrise/ Don't Burn Down The Bridge/ For The Love Of A Woman/ I Believe To My Soul/ I'll Play The Blues For You/ Little Brother (Make A Way)/ Roadhouse Blues

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8556 Wednesday Night In San Francisco ● CD $12.98
See review under Stax 8557 below.
ALBERT KING: Born Under A Bad Sign/ Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong/ Don't You Lie To Me/ Got To Be Some Changes Made/ Personal Manager/ Watermelon Man/ Why Are You So Mean To Me

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8557 Thursday Night In San Francisco ● CD $12.98
An energetic live pair, recorded in the summer of 1968 during King's first headlining engagement at The Fillmore. Albert was riding high on the crossover success of Born Under A Bad Sign, and Stax was quick to notice his appeal among the hippies, dispatching a recording crew to document the event. The result was the classic Live Wire Blues Power LP. The remaining tracks languished in the vaults for whatever reason (although certainly not for any musical shortcomings), finally surfacing here after 20 years. Volume 1 has I Get Evil/ Personal Manager/ Born Under A Bad Sign/ Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong and more. Volume 2 issues You Upset Me Baby/ Stormy Monday/ Everyday I Have The Blues/ Crosscut Saw among others. Sharp performances from his peak blues period. (MB)
ALBERT KING: Crosscut Saw/ Driftin' Blues/ Everyday (I Have The Blues)/ I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town/ I've Made Nights By Myself/ Ooh-ee Baby/ San-ho-zay/ Stormy Monday Blues/ You Upset Me Baby

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8560 I'm In A Phone Booth Baby ● CD $12.98
9 tracks, 38 min., recommended. Big Al is in a phone booth with a truck load of love waiting to get his broom dusted. But just in case, he brought along his guitar so he'd have someone to talk to. The conversation is good. (Bet the strings get nervous when he picks up his "Flying V.") Steve Douglas and Cal Lewiston add their brass attacks to keep things stirred up on Your Bread Ain't Done/ Firing Line/ Brother Go Ahead And Take Her and others. But check the total running time. Haven't the fine folks at Fantasy ever heard of reissuing two LPs on one disc? (JC)
ALBERT KING: Brother, Go Ahead And Take Her/ Dust My Broom/ Firing Line/ Phone Booth/ The Game Goes On/ The Sky Is Crying/ Truck Load Of Lovin'/ You Gotta Sacrifice/ Your Bread Ain't Done

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8570 The Blues Don't Change ● CD $12.98
11 tracks, 43 min., good. This originally surfaced as an LP entitled The Pinch - either they wanted to sell the same stuff twice, or correct the sexist offenses of the original cover, or both. Anyway, here 'tis, with no liner notes, two nice pics of Albert, and a whole lot of southern-fried soulful blues circa 1974. The disco-fied remake of Oh, Pretty Woman dates this session, as do the female background vocals of "Hot Butter & Soul" and King's processed guitar tone. But if you don't mind your blues a little on the Memphis funky side, there's plenty to enjoy here, including a haunting I'm Doing Fine, the solid instrumental King Of Kings, and just plain good songs like The Blues Don't Change/ Firing Line/ I Can't Stand The Rain. (MB)
ALBERT KING: Ain't It Beautiful/ Feel The Need/ Firing Line/ I Can't Stand The Rain/ I'm Doing Fine/ King Of Kings/ Nice To Be Nice (Ain't That Nice)/ Oh, Pretty Woman/ The Blues Don't Change/ The Pinch Paid Off (Part 1)/ The Pinch Paid Off (Part 2)

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8571 Crosscut Saw - Albert King In San Francisco ● CD $12.98
The first 7 cuts were originally released in 1983 by Fantasy as San Francisco '83 (#9627), marking the end of a 5 year recording hiatus for the blues giant. But more than that, this album of standards and originals sounds better than anything King has recorded since. Backed by a solid and unobtrusive four-piece band, Albert puts new heat in the Muddy Waters' Honey Bee, and jump starts B.B.'s Ask Me No Questions. Albert also contributes 2 topical tunes (circa '83) in They Made The Queen Welcome/ Floodin' In California. Two previously unissued bonus tracks, versions of Crosscut Saw/ Why You So Mean To Me, are welcome additions that bring the running time up to 47 minutes. Good stuff. (JC)

 
ALBERT KING Stax 8594 Hard Bargain ● CD $12.98
13 Tracks, 47 min, recommended An excellent collection of B-sides, alternates and unissued cuts waxed during guitar legend Albert King's stint at Stax. These tunes are made up of 9 tracks with the Stax Staff (Booker T. Jones, Issac Hayes, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and Al Jackson, Jr.), 1 with the Muscle Shoals boys, (Barry Beckett, David Hood & Roger Hawkins) and 1 with the Bar Kays crew (Michael Toles, James Alexander and Willie Hall). King strikes a hard groove from start to finish, letting loose with plenty of stinging solos and copious amounts of gritty urban blues and soul. Excellent liner notes by Lee Hildebrand. Instrumentals, ballads and raveups as well as a great version of The Sky is Crying. A must have. (PL)
ALBERT KING: Albert's Groove/ As The Years Go Passing By/ Drownin' On Dry Land/ Funk-shun/ Got To Be Some Changes Made/ Heart Fixing Business/ I Believe To My Soul/ I Get Evil/ Overall Junction/ Shake 'em Down/ The Sky Is Crying/ You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain/ You're Gonna Need Me

 
ALBERT KING Stax 53317 Blues Power ● CD $12.98
5 tracks - Blues Power/ Sun Gone Down/ Match Box Blues/ Angel Of Mercy/ Born Under A Bad Sign.

 
ALBERT KING Thirsty Ear 57129 Talkin' Blues ● CD $16.98
7 music tracks + 4 interview tracks, 56 mins, recommended The great singer/ guitarist captured live in Chicago in 1978. His backing group is unidentified but does a fine job as Albert works his way through some of his most popular Stax sides. He's in good form with powerful, expressive vocals and lots of his distinctive and influential soaring and swooping guitar licks. Songs include Born Under A Bad Sign/ Rub My Back/ Blues At Sunrise/ Please Come Back To Me and others. There are three brief interview segments scattered between the tracks and a longer 3 1/2 minute interview with Albert discussing the influence of Bill Graham on his career. Excellent sound and nice digipack packaging. (FS)

 
ALBERT KING Wolf 120.500 Rainin' In California ● CD $16.98
Recorded live in Long Beach, California in 1983

 
ALBERT KING WITH STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN Stax 7501 In Session ● CD $16.98
Recommended. A unique meeting between a master & his most able pupil. The 1st recorded meeting between these 2 legends, done for Canadien TV show In Session 12-6-83, done when Stevie Ray was just breaking big with playing on David Bowie's #1 hit Let's Dance & recording his debut LP. Albert was in between his last 2 Fantasy studio LPs, "San Francisco '83" & "I'm In A Phone Booth, Baby" - in fact, it's Albert's band from those LPs, Tony Llorens (keys), Gus Thornton (b), Michael Llorens (d) that backs the 2 guitar slingers on these 7 tunes. Highlight is the 15 minute title tune, which Albert recalls recording at the Fillmore "with Janis & Jimi", & has Stevie do his best Hendrix imitations. The tunes range from covers (Call it Stormy Monday/ Don't Lie To Me) to King tunes (Match Box Blues/ Overall Junction), even Stevie's new hit single Pride & Joy. (GM)

 
ALBERT KING/ LITTLE MILTON Stax 4123 Chronicle ● CD $11.98
6 Albert King cuts and 7 from Little Milton.
ALBERT KING: Angel Of Mercy/ Breaking Up Somebody's Home/ Can't You See What You're Doing To Me/ Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven/ I'll Play The Blues For You/ That's What The Blues Is All About/ LITTLE MILTON: Behind Closed Doors/ If That Ain't A Reason/ If You Talk In You're Sleep/ Let Me Back In/ That's What Love Will Make You Do/ Tin Pan Alley/ What It Is

 

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