Albert King

More Big Blues of Albert King

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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. Some more variety to largely self-penned songs would have made his Bobbin era stand out more too. It does feature his sole big R&B hit from his stint with the label, "Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong," a showcase for his mean, lean guitar licks that increases the drama with changing drum tempos. Of the other songs, the standout is "Ooo-Ee Baby," in which King really draws out the vibrato in a slow blues with earthy tension, sounding more spontaneous than he did on many of his other Bobbin singles. The production's more basic than that of his Stax sides, but is hardly raw, with a jazzy lilt to the horns in particular. Rock fans will recognize "I Get Evil" as essentially the same song as "Don't Lie to Me," which the Rolling Stones covered (and whose composition was erroneously credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards when it appeared on the Stones' Metamorphosis).

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