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Blues Legends: Albert King - Live in Sweden

3.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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(Feb 10, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Born in Indianola, Mississippi, Albert King remains one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time and enjoyed a successful career that spanned four decades, with wide critical and commercial acceptance throughout the world. The left- handed blues giant wrenched stinging solos from his trademark Gibson Flying V, informing the sound and style of such admirers as Eric Clapton, Luther Allison, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Taj Mahal and Jimi Hendrix. This never before released concert film presents King in top form, tearing through his signature songs at the peak of his career. Songs include "Born under a Bad Sign," "The Sky Is Crying," "The Very Thought of You," "Cadillac Assembly Line," "Summertime," "Cold Women with Warm Hearts," "As the Years Go Passing By."

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Albert King
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2004
  • Run Time: 58 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00016R128
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,477 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Perry Celestino on February 21, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Well I have been an Albert King fan since he released "King Of The Blues Guitar" when I was in college. Any material about him has always been of interest to me, for one thing, it is so scarce!! This DVD is in the new Blues Legends series and after seeing the excellent Freddie King release last year (even though the last set taped in Sweden had been released before) I had to see Albert in action again.

Note for overseas customers: Most of the music DVDs sold buy Amazon which have a disclaimer re: Region 1; "This DVD will not probably not play outside the US", is not true. All my DVD's play perfectly in Australia (Region 4). They are obviously Region 0! You can also get an all region player!

This set was taped in Sweden in June, 1980 and it has a younger (around 56-who knows his real age!)Albert performing with a seven piece band including a horn section (which is his best work!). He is playing his custom Flying-V "Lucy" with a normal Gibson headstock (eg., 335)and interestingly, no pick-up covers! The sound is fat and seems like the tone he achieved in the early 1980s when he started using his custom phaser (for the uninitiated: an effect that came out in the 1970s-post wah-wah (Hendrix). The sound is great but may be too much for the casual listener. It is much like his tone on the CD "Blues At Sunrise". The set he plays includes a great intro- very aggressive and great bending with his custom riffs. He then goes into "Born Under A Bad Sign" his signature tune from 1966's album of the same name. Then they put on a curious interview, why??? Why wasn't this at the end??? As a bonus? The DVD then continues with his old version (pre: "I'm In A Phone Booth" LP)of "The Sky Is Crying". It is great and even has the mixed up introduction as he always did even on records too-"and...
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Format: DVD
Well it is absolutely about darn time a DVD was released dealing exclusively with the single greatest and most influential Blues guitarist of all time. This DVD certainly has its limitations. It was filmed in 1980 and the wonders of technology haven't done much to improve the audio or visual quality. It is also disappointingly skimpy. Just fifty-eight minutes and that includes pieces of an interview. When I saw the track listing, I was thrilled to see "Summertime". I could hear King's haunting guitar on the standard, and my mouth began to water. Unfortunately, Albert sat this one out, and it is just his band doing a nice, but predictable Jazz version.
Imperfections aside, if you know Albert King's work, you are invariably a fan, and so this DVD is an essential buy. There's plenty of good camera work showing King's giant paws working the frets and choking the you know what out of Lucy, the Gibson Flying V guitar that Albert calls, "My honey". We hear his signature tune "Born Under a Bad Sign" (I still haven't heard a version that wasn't just a little better than decent without King's Stax Records compadres Booker T. & the MGs backing him up) and the standard "The Very Thought of You", which shows that the deep voiced Blues giant was also one heck of a soulful singer, and that though Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn could almost match his power, they never came close to his tastefulness and touch.
King definitely provides great highlights, not only with his playing, but with his always perfectly timed "Woooooooos!" and "Yeahhhhs!". Those moments are great examples of Albert King style Blues. Orgasmic bursts of joy that could instantly cure the bluest man's blues.
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Format: DVD
The picture quality is better than the sound quality, when I first heard this was coming out I couldn't wait to see it. I was somewhat disappointed by it, but it does have some good points. I thought his vocals were great, there were also a a lot of good solos. And I also thought the other guitar player with Albert was fantastic, Albert gave him plenty of room which was great. This man is quite a guitar player, but there is a better DVD of Albert out there, (Ohne Filter) which was recorded live in Germany. This was recorded about six months before Albert passed, it was his last European tour (1992). This is very hard to find, if you can find a copy you will be more than pleased. I bought a burned copy from Europe which turned out to be excellent quality.
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Format: DVD
I have been a long time fan of Albert from the late 1960s post release of his Filmore Live wire/Blues Power set; have all his CDs and been fortunate enough to see him perform live before his death. Sadly, this hacked DVD of a Swedish TV live show including an interview is a big disappointment and not the man at his best.

1. The show has been edited around (as evidenced by Albert's state of dress and level of sweat) so is not the original running order it seems.

2. The highspots are when Albert lets fly on his solos (his fingering and left handed style caught very well on camera) but his West Coast support band is at best perfunctory and a second guitarist who is sadly not in his league which waters down the intensity of the show - highspots are "Born under a Bad Sign" and the Elmore Jame song "The sky is crying" and the first interview when he covers his early days of struggle pre-Stax success.

3. Lowspots are the band's (without Albert) rendition of Summertime and the final track overlapped with a second interview, plus the overall set listing is not all of Albert's best.

While one suspects Albert's video recording legacy is not great one hopes that better examples of this great bluesman can be traced and released (rumours his CD released Montreux shows were videotaped abound and paired with his Wattstax show would be a killer DVD).
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