ALBERT KING - I Wanna Get Funky (1974)

One of the "Three Kings" of the Blues guitar (along with B.B. King and Freddie King)...and my personal favorite out of those three blues greats. The most interesting recording for me, was when he jammed with SRV in Hamilton Ontario for the TV show "In Sessions". A classic!

He stood 6 foot 4" weighed in at 260 pounds (118 kg) and was known as "The Velvet Bulldozer". He was born Albert Nelson into a humble family in Indianola, Mississippi, at a cotton plantation where he worked in his early days. One of his earlier influences in music was his own father, Will Nelson, who would often play the guitar. During his childhood he would also sing at a family gospel group at a church. He began his professional work as a musician with a group called In the Groove Boys, in Osceola, Arkansas. He also briefly played drums for Jimmy Reed's band. The electric guitar became his signature instrument, his preference being the Gibson Flying V, which he named "Lucy".

His first hit was "I'm A Lonely Man", released in 1959. However, it wasn't until his 1961 release "Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong" that he had a major hit, ranking 14th on the R&B charts. In 1966 he signed with the famous Stax record label and in 1967 released his legendary album Born Under A Bad Sign.

King was a left-handed "upside-down/backwards" guitarist: he was left-handed but usually played right-handed guitars flipped over upside-down so the low E string was on the bottom. In later years he played a custom-made guitar that was basically left-handed, but had the strings reversed (as he was used to playing). He also used very unorthodox tunings (i.e., tuning as low as C to allow him to make sweeping string bends). A "less is more" type blues player, he was known for his expressive "bending" of notes, a technique characteristic of blues guitarists. However, while a conventional right-handed player will bend the note by pushing the string upwards against the frets, causing the pitch to go up, Albert King used an unorthodox approach of pulling the string downwards to get the same result. Jimi Hendrix also played right-handed guitars that were flipped over, but in contrast, Hendrix also flipped the nut and bridge to retain the string layout (low E on top).

King influenced many later blues guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield, Gary Moore, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. King died on December 21, 1992 from a heart attack in Memphis, Tennessee. He has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Albert King - I wanna get funky (1974)

recorded in 1972 and released in 1974.

1. "I Wanna Get Funky" (Smith) - 5:08
2. "Playing on Me" (Rice) - 3:25
3. "Walking the Back Streets and Crying" (Jones) - 6:28
4. "'Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone" (Floyd/Isbell) - 7:32
5. "Flat Tire" (Bush/Jones/King) - 4:43
6. "I Can't Hear Nothing But the Blues" (Bush/Clark) - 4:16
7. "Travelin' Man" (King) - 2:52
8. "Crosscut Saw" (Ford) - 7:45
9. "That's What the Blues Is All About" (Patterson/Strickland) - 3:53

* Albert King – Electric guitar and vocals
* Donald Kenzie – Guitar
* Memphis Symphony Orchestra – Strings
* The Memphis Horns – Horns
* The Bar-Kays, The Movement – Bass, drums
* Hot Buttered Soul, Henry Bush – Background vocals


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