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I Am The Blues

9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 1, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Blues Artist of the Year Willie King's self-produced masterpiece is a groovin', jumpin', juke boogie blast. The hypnotic grooves and outspoken lyrics make this CD a modern blues classic.

About the Artist

Willie King was born in Prairie Point, MS, in 1943. After his father left, Willie and his siblings was raised by his grandparents, local sharecroppers. Music was important to the King family - Willie’s grandfather was a gospel singer, and his absent father was an amateur blues musician. Young Willie made a diddley bo by nailing a baling wire to a tree in the yard. By age 9 he had a one-string guitar that he could bring indoors to play at night.

In 1967, Willie King moved to Chicago in an attempt to make more money than he could down South. After a year spent on the West and South Side, he returned to Old Memphis, Alabama, just across the border from the Mississippi Prairie. A salesman - of shoes, cologne, and other frivolities - Willie traveled the rural roads hawking goods and talking politics. Choosing not to work under the "old system" of unequal treatment, King joined the civil rights movement near the end of the decade, eventually associating with the left-wing Highlander Center.

By the late 1970s, King was writing what he calls "struggling songs" - political blues tunes that he used to educate his audiences. As King explains "through the music I could reach more people, get ’em to listen." Yet as his rollicking blues style attests, King still knows how to have a good time. He played the juke circuit and bootlegged whiskey on the side, resorting to popular blues covers when the "struggling songs" upset a close-minded audience.

King work a lot in his own community, forging relationships with local youth through a blues education program and through his organization The Rural Members Association. The Rural Members Association has sponsored classes in music, woodworking, food preservation, and other African-American traditions, and has provided transportation, legal assistance, and other services for the needy over the past two decades. In recent years he’s been sponsoring a festival on the creek, which is as The Freedom Creek Festival. Willie explains, "We was targetin’ at tryin’ to get all walks of life, different people to come down and kinda be with us in reality down there, you know. Let’s get back to reality, in the woods . . . mix and mingle . . . get to know each other. Get up to have a workin’ relationship, try to bring peace . . ."



Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 1, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: May 1, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Willie King/RMA
  • ASIN: B0000C8XLA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,671 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Raja on August 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I first heard Willie King play live at his festival in Freedom Creek, deep in Alabama, where this music arises from the harsh realities of rural life. This CD is the blues as it is lived today - a soul-filled expression full of joy and misery, catharsis and dance to lighten the soul. Willie King has a great blues voice and plays some mean guitar, backed up by a rock-steady band who never overplay the groove. If you like blues in the style of R. L. Burnside, John Lee Hooker or Howlin' Wolf you will love this album.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Karen A. Ferguson on July 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD
When I got into the blues 2 years ago, I had no idea I would be flying back to Alabama to attend Freedom Creek Blues Festival, Willie King's homage to the blues!! But, I saw a snippet of his work in Martin Scorcese's The Blues DVD set, and I said to my husband, "I have to go to Alabama and see Willie King." Unexplicable! Two weeks later, I was there.

I can't say enough good things about this music. But first about Willie: he's a decent guy who tries to do good things. He greets his fans with such love and devotion: his fans are his kids. He's approachable and loves the contact with his fans.

Willy is serious when it comes to "lovin' one another" and models it beautifully. He laughed when a few of us missed the sexual overtones of some of his lyrics, but tackfully explained them. He writes 99% of his music as well. Great lyrics and creative, intense playing.

King's band, The Liberators: Rick on keyboard and harp, Debbie on bass guitar and singer, and Willie James on drums are professionals to the core. They help make Willie look even better: it's an extraordinary team. Willie James gave me a drum lesson at Freedom Creek and,trust me when I say, it is HARD! But, we howelled with laughter at my attempts. I was happy I could entertain Willie James for a few minutes instead of him always mesmorizing me with his playing song after song after song.

Willie's energy is contagious. I can't match it, but I always enjoy it. It's my plan never to miss another Freedom Creek! I bought all of his CD's and I find them all exceptional for different reasons. By the last two and go from there! You won't be sorry. You'll be rockin' down the road.
Oh, and check out the new DVD documentary called Willie King "Down in the Woods." A couple came over from Europe to take 'down' Willie's life and they did an excellent job. It's not easy getting 'heart and soul' on film, yet I think this couple rose to the occasion and did it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William H. Locke Jr. on June 6, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Willie King is from Alabama not Chicago... He is an original..... If you really love the Blues... You will love any thing Willie plays...Thanks you Wille for all of your time on this earth....We will miss you....I will continue to play your music...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bluesman From Barcelona on July 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I like Willie King in all its multiple facets -great voice in certain moments very similar to Howlin Wolf- good guitar playing and better compositions. I know him musically through his records: 2000's FREEDOM CREEK and 2002's LIVING ROOM IN TO NEW WORLD, both with very good themes. Willie King is an authentic Chicago Bluesman with occasional funky reminiscences. Because of the poverty, racism and oppression that he has suffered, he divides his music between sweet and struggling Blues. This I AM THE BLUES follows these guidelines and is of course a great Blues record. The opening track, the instrumental "Strolling with Willie" which carries the flavour of the well-known Otis Rush's "All your love I miss loving", contains some rhythmic and harmonic clashes between King and the band but things settle down in the rest of the record. He pays homage to HOWLIN' WOLF with "You' re going to worry", "The wolf is back" and the song which gives title to the record, "I am the Blues", which makes you think of Wolf's "Smokestack lightnin'". All other songs are also superb. I recommend this CD and I give it 4 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ducman on February 10, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bought this after getting the live album "Freedom Creek" Great stuff he has a distictive style of blues and I wonder who is the English sponsor/benefactor
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