The new Stax Classics series celebrates the iconic label's greatest stars, offering new liner notes, label discographies and 12 choice cuts from the artists' Stax catalog. This collection highlights one of the most influential bluesmen in history, Albert King, who single-handedly ushered blues into the modern era by combining his direct, urgent Mississippi blues style with contemporary soul rhythms, continually redefining the state of the genre. During his nine years on the label, the prolific artist released dozens of innovative hits and became one of the few blues artists to break through to the young, white rock crowd, influencing many of the biggest rock stars of the 60s and 70s, including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. This album includes such classics as 'Crosscut Saw,' 'Born Under a Bad Sign,' and 'Breaking Up Somebody's Home.'
All of King's recordings for the Bobbin label are on this 22-track disc, including everything from his 1959-1963 singles for the label and previously unissued alternate takes of "Why Are You So Mean to Me," "The Time Has Come," and the previously unissued "Blues at Sunrise." While these are decent journeyman urban blues/R&B, they're not up to the level of his subsequent recordings for Stax. Albert King just sounds too much like the records another King – B.B. King, that is – was making during the same era. There are similar horn arrangements and alternation of stinging guitar with smooth, confident vocal phrasing. It's a tribute to Albert King's abilities, in a way, that it does sound confident, and not the work of an imitator, despite the similarities.
Albert King recorded a lot in the early '60s, including some classic sides, but they never quite hit the mark. They never gained a large audience, nor did they really capture the ferocity of his single-string leads. Then he signed with Stax in 1966 and recorded a number of sessions with the house band, Booker T. & the MG's, and everything just clicked…
Curious, isn't it, how some of the greatest guitarists in post-war Blues history all shared the same regal surname? And entirely fitting. Freddie, Albert, and Earl King royally ruled the Blues kingdom with their brilliant innovations and seminal licks. All of them greatly impacted the Rock field as well. Eric Clapton cites Freddie as a major influence, while Stevie Ray Vaughan was an Albert acolyte. Jimi Hendrix did a dynamite version of Earl's 'Let The Good Times Roll.' These three kings of the electric Blues guitar played a mammoth role in defining the sound of post-war Blues guitar. Their influence remains monumental to this day.
The 2013 Stax Records reissue of Born Under A Bad Sign offers five bonus tracks in the form of previously-unreleased alternate takes and an untitled instrumental. The first (unused) take of the title track reveals a few differences but otherwise hits every mark as the take that ended up on the album; by contrast, the alternate take of "Crosscut Saw" includes an extra chorus tacked on the end, features a stronger King vocal performance, and all the houserockin' guitar
Albert King enjoyed an erratic but memorable reign at Tomato in the 1970s. The label aimed to continue the success King had enjoyed at Stax mixing blues backing and vocals with pop/soul arrangements and lyrics……
Digitally remastered and expanded edition of this 1972 album from the Blues legend including four bonus tracks.