Freddie King

Dallas, Texas Jan. 20th 1973

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This DVD seemed to promise a revelation -- Freddie King set up with a band in front of television cameras in a proper studio, with live microphones and a small, friendly audience, all for a PBS special. The results, however, as released here, aren't quite as rewarding as one would have hoped -- the producers have intercut audio interviews with King, and inset images of him across "Ain't Nobody's Business," which sort of interferes with what was otherwise a fine performance (though, it must be said, not featuring his regular band). Still, he gives fine accounts of "Big Legged Woman," "Ain't Nobody's Business," etc., and a surprisingly effective, highly extended rendition of "Ain't No Sunshine" (which he uses to introduce the band). The final section of the performance, containing "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," "Going Down," and "Hideaway" is the real payoff, however, and worth the price of the disc. And for those concerned with an overview of King's work, the performance also reveals a surprising synthesis of funk into his established Texas blues sound -- the man, not yet 40 and still only three years from his untimely death, still had a lot of strings to his bow that were only beginning to be explored. The video quality is a bit uneven, as is the audio, especially in the opening section; but when one considers that no one involved ever thought we'd be looking at this material nearly 40 years later, transferred digitally to high-resolution screens, those shortcomings can be forgiven. The disc opens to a simple menu with the "play" option in the default position, and -- after a brief focus on a still image introduction -- goes to the full-screen image of the concert, with chapter markers for each song.