Sunday, April 14, 2013

Albert King. Born Under a Bad Sign. Stax Remasters CD /stx 34334-02 (2013, originally released 1967).

The late sixties to early seventies were arguably the golden age for electric blues guitar, and the three Kings – B.B., Freddie, and Albert – were certainly at the head of the class. Although all made memorable albums during that era, the one that seemed to be in everyone’s collections was Albert King’s masterpiece, Born Under a Bad Sign. Recorded in 1967 at Stax Studios in Memphis with Booker T. and the MGs and the Memphis Horns, a combination of great material, flawless backing, and King’s crisp, concise lead guitar picking made the album, and King, favorites of the underground radio set during the late sixties. The album featured only one tune written and one co-written by the guitarist, but several of the most memorable songs on the album are inextricably identified with King, starting with the Booker T. Jones penned title tune. Built around a classic five-note riff played by bassist Duck Dunn and the Memphis Horns, the song encapsulated the blues in a way equaled by only a few other songs of that era. “Crosscut Saw,” “The Hunter” and “Laundromat Blues” are the other songs that became inextricably linked with King through the album, as was his slightly sinister version of “Oh Pretty Woman.” The album also offered another side of King, as he shone as a balladeer on “I Almost Lost My Mind” and  “The Very Thought of You.”  Newly issued as part of the Stax Remasters series, the current version of this classic blues effort includes alternate takes of the title tune, “Crosscut Saw,” “The Hunter,” and “Personal Manager” that deviate little from the released tracks, along with a brief, untitled, instrumental cut. 

No comments:

Post a Comment