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Born Under a Bad Sign Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Born Under A Bad Sign
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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, June 18, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of the best Blues Albums of all times.

Amazon.com

Born Under a Bad Sign dates back to a time when albums were collections of singles, and when singles, designed for radio and jukebox play, seldom ran more than three and a half minutes. That limitation meant that artists had to make an impact quickly and firmly. In blues, the tendency of songs to go on a bit had to be curbed to produce performances with punch and point. There are few better examples of this process in action than Albert King's 1960s tracks like "Crosscut Saw," "Born Under a Bad Sign," and his story of hot whispers during the hot-wash cycle, "Laundromat Blues." With his thick voice and no-nonsense guitar, King brought absolute blues credibility to the well-made commercial single, and even tracks that were recorded purely for the album, like the aching slow blues "As the Years Go Passing By," became classics. Reissued with the original funky cover art, Born Under a Bad Sign is one of the foundation stones of a blues collection. --Tony Russell
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 18, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 1967
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Stax
  • ASIN: B00006878K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,823 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Pairing Albert 'King' Nelson with Booker T. Jones and his Memphis Group for the "Born Under A Bad Sign" sessions was a brilliant idea, commercially as well as artistically. The top-notch rhythm section of Donald "Duck" Dunn and Al Jackson, jr., add a muscular swagger to King's best-ever batch of songs without ever resorting to sleek and stereotypical funk, Steve Cropper adds sympathetic second guitar, and the sublimely well scored Memphis Horns compliment King's sizzling lead guitar lines perfectly.

This 1967 album was initially conceived as a series of singles recorded over 15 months between March of 1966 and June of 1967, but soon compiled and released in LP form to immediate critical acclaim.
"Born Under A Bad Sign" is 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. This is an immensely strong and unusually varied collection, spanning swaggering R&B, passionate soul-blues, mid-tempo hardcore blues grinds, and smouldering slow numbers, and most Albert King-compilations contain at least half a dozen songs from "Born Under A Bad Sign".

True, some of King's sets are edgier than this, and songs like "As The Years Go Passing By" and the very delicate cover of Ray Noble's jazz ballad "The Very Thought Of You" could have had more bite, and the first half of the album is certainly stronger overall than the second.
But there are so many highligts here that it's hard to say anything against the common notion that "Bad Sign" is indeed King's best studio album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One of the many remarkable things about "Born Under A Bad Sign" is the fact that the album is not thematic at all, but a collection of singles recorded between March of 1966 and June 1967. You wouldn't think such a monumental work could be improved, but the addition of five previously unreleased tracks make this a must buy, even for those of us who have been enjoying the original for so many years.

"Bad Sign" has been critiqued and reviewed thousands of times, but now that these tracks are remastered they are worth revisiting. The title song is a text book example of modern Soul Blues. According to co-writer Booker T, Jones, the song was written especially with King in mind. Booker and the MGs-keyboardist Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, bass player Donald "Duck" Dunn and drummer Al Jackson, along with the Memphis Horns drive the song with Albert's guitar soaring above everyone. The alternate take
is just as muscular as the original. On this track, Albert sings "I can't write" rather than "I can't read" in the second verse. He lets out a quiet "ow!" as if he was aware of the error. Intentional or not, it gives the track a certain charm.

The Ivory Joe Hunter classic "I Almost Lost My Mind" was one of the first blues ballads to feature flute, courtesy of Joe Arnold. Trumpeter Wayne Jackson and saxophonist Andrew Love join Arnold to support Albert's impassioned vocals. The minor key "As The Years Go Passing By" is famous for inspiring the seven note intro to "Layla"; on this remastered cut Booker's piano is front and center. "The Very Thought of You" is also brighter than the original release- Cropper's rhythm guitar and the piano are heard to greater advantage, and you have to love to hear Albert stretch out the ending of the tune with his crooning "My-y-y-y love".
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Format: Audio CD
... and under a half moon on the decline: This is one amazing blues album, doubtlessly one of the greatest ever recorded, and one of the most influential records in all of music history. Because in 1966-67, when Albert King got together on a total of no more than five days with the legendary Booker T. Jones and the MGs, Isaac Hayes, and a recording team of the likewise legendary Stax records to produce this album, the blues was quietly on its way out; in danger of being sidelined by psychedelia and the rock music revolution started by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. That this did not happen is due, not least, to Albert King and "Born Under a Bad Sign."

Already seasoned musician when the album was recorded, Mississippi-born and Arkansas-raised Albert (Nelson) King was a man who perfectly understood to employ minimal construction to maximum effect; to fully exploit even the most basic elements of a blues tune and use his exquisite sense of timing, and subtleness on the one hand and emphasis on the other, rather than dazzling the listener by a frenzied race all over the fretboard. ("He can take four notes and write a volume," renowned guitarist Mike Bloomfield once said about him.
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