Albert King

The Ultimate Collection

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Rhino's 1993 double-disc set The Ultimate Collection remains the greatest-of-all Albert King collection, gathering the best of his recordings. True, the collection is tilted toward his Stax recordings, somewhat shortchanging his '50s and early-'60s recordings, but it is also true that the late-'60s/early-'70s recordings are the cornerstone of King's legacy, the ones that showcase his stinging guitar at its blistering best. By acknowledging as much the set gains credibility, it doesn't lose it, and while an artist with a career as long as King's will certainly have some great cuts left off of a two-disc, 38-song collection, this truly does contain his very best work, particularly in regards to showcasing his influence as a guitarist. If you're looking for a succinct introduction, turn to Born Under a Bad Sign, one of the greatest blues albums and one that captures the full scope of his skills as well as this double-disc set, but if you want something a little more comprehensive, containing the great moments that aren't on that album, this is what to get. After all, it doesn't just contain all but one song from that album, it's one of the great blues collections.

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