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King of the Blues Guitar

43 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 18, 1989
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Frequently Bought Together

King of the Blues Guitar + In Session [Deluxe Edition CD/DVD] + Born Under A Bad Sign [Stax Remasters]
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The cream of the crop of the blues legend's acclaimed '60s Stax work. Includes "Born Under A Bad Sign."

Amazon.com

These 17 tunes come from King's most fertile period, his 1966-68 tenure at Memphis's Stax Records. Stax chief Jim Stewart had been reluctant to sign blues artists because he felt straight blues wouldn't mesh with Stax's patented Memphis soul. Ironically, the fusion of King's sharp guitar wails with the dynamic rhythms of Booker T. & the MGs--the Stax house band--was what set King apart from other bluesmen. The unique blend produced classic after classic: Booker T. Jones' rolling piano propels "Laundromat Blues." Al Jackson's drum shuffle supports "Crosscut Saw." The driving horns of Andrew Love, Wayne Jackson, and Joe Arnold accent "Born Under a Bad Sign." King's ripe and mellow vocals are a perfect match for the soul-drenched music while his dramatic string bends leap out. --Marc Greilsamer


1. Laundromat Blues
2. Overall Junction
3. Oh, Pretty Woman
4. Funk-Shun
5. Crosscut Saw
6. Down Don't Bother Me
7. Born Under A Bad Sign
8. Personal Manager
9. Kansas City
10. The Very Thought Of You
11. The Hunter
12. I Almost Lost My Mind
13. As The Years Go Passing By
14. Cold Feet
15. You Sure Druve A Hard Bargain
16. I Love Lucy
17. You're Gonna Need Me

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 18, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002I7H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,177 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Perry Celestino on April 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This was my very first Albert King LP. It was released as the height of the 1960s Blues Mania and so did very well with white listeners. However, the album is really a re-release of several singles and additonal session material that was done at Stax during 1966-1968. The real story is that Atlantic stole the whole Stax catalogue under a clever distribution agreement. This lead eventually to Stax's total demise in the Mid-1970s.

The album is a great overview of King's early period with Stax. Actually, it is a double album- the seminal album "Born Under A Bad Sign", with additonal cuts. All bonus tracks are originally from that Stax classic album-the most influential Black Blues LP of the late sixties.

The tunes include his classics such as "Laundromat Blues" Albert's first Stax release with his soulful double string bends, "Overall Junction" a mono instrumental masterpiece, that unlike Albert Collins or Freddie King tunes has no primary melody "or head". He offers "Born Under A Bad Sign" a tune he recorded in one take as an overdub to the MG's backing track, "I Love Lucy" is a great example of his talking blues abilities (he was one of the best) and the guitar is super raw with superb bends! "Cold Feet" a tune written with drummer Al Jackson, Jr (who also helped him on "Night Stomp" and produced his famous "Live Wire" set) it is a great talking blues with a catalogue of King licks-it was his second highest charting single. "You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain and You're Gonna Need Me" are later cuts that were added on the release of the original LP. "Bargain" was a cover a another R&B tune with a great Memphis Horns chart and "Need Me" is a self-penned Albert Classic that became the basis for Otis Rush's "Right Place, Wrong Time".
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 1998
Format: Audio CD
This disc is a composite of 2 of Albert King's late 1960s studio albums: "Born Under A Bad Sign" (on Stax), and the Atlantic "King Of The Blues Guitar" LP. So many good tunes here, like "The Hunter", "Born Under A Bad Sign", "Oh Pretty Woman", "Kansas City", etc. I wish Atlantic had reissued this with it's original Stax cover art, but that's a minor gripe. One of the best blues guitarists ever, this disc is his complete output for Stax/Atlantic. Don't miss it, it's a classic!!
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Smith on August 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A physically imposing man, Albert King produced blues of uncommon vitality and power. His sound is well represented in this strong sampling of his work on Stax.
Every blues singer, male or female, living or dead, of any note developed a unique vocal style, and Albert is no exception. His drawl-like phrasings and frequent spoken asides (as on "Cold Feet") place a strong personal stamp on these tunes. My personal vocal favorites are "Landromat Blues," the aforementioned "Cold Feet," the often-recorded "Oh, Pretty Woman," and "You Sure Drive a Hard Bargain."
Then there's "I Love Lucy," his ode to his guitar. While you might be tempted to dismiss it as a copy cat version of B.B. King's "Lucille," don't make that mistake. Naming guitars is a long-time tradition, and Albert's tune is as different from B.B.'s as the two great bluesmen's guitar and vocal styles are. Both men can make their guitars cry, but the sound of tears and laughter come from two different women.
Oddly enough, I downgrade the CD version slightly from the original vinyl -- not enough to change my overall assessment of the release, but the added material could be stronger. Of the six bonus tracks, I consider only the mournful "As the Years Go Passing By" a significant addition to the package. Stax would have been very well advised, I think, to leave off, in particular, "The Very Thought of You," a great tune, obviously, but not one that is up Albert's alley.
Nonetheless, you'll have a great time with "King of the Blues Guitar." Albert will get a lot of argument about that assessment, but there's no question that he's a member of blues royalty.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Docendo Discimus on August 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is not a compilation, but rather an expanded Atlantic edition of Albert King's Stax LP "Born Under A Bad Sign" from 1967.
"Born Under A Bad Sign" was Albert King at his most inspired, and most influential, too, a blueprint for young white guitarists like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and even Jimi Hendrix and Joe Walsh. And it's no wonder; it was an immensely strong and unusually varied collection, spanning swaggering R&B, passionate soul-blues, mid-tempo hardcore blues grinds, and smouldering slow numbers.

"King Of The Blues Guitar" brings together all 11 tracks from the original LP, and combines them with six of King's excellent non-LP singles from the same period, everything presented in the order in which it was actually recorded.
The 1966 sides "Overall Junction" and "Funk-Shun" are both instrumentals, and very good ones, too, but both were left off the original "Born Under A Bad Sign". Here they are, though, along with four more late-60s recordings which were cut by King and Booker T & the MGs shortly after the release of the "Bad Sign" LP.
The half-spoken '68 sides "I Love Lucy" and "Cold Feet" aren't really musical heavyweights, but they're good enough, and "You're Gonna Need Me" and "You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain" are particularly satisfying, tough blues numbers with a couple of great vocal performances by King. And thsoe horn charts? Perfect!
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