Albert King

Truckers Blues: The Best of Albert King

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This mostly unannotated and unattributed CD, with no date or venue information, isn't really a "best of" Albert King, regardless of its title. But that said, it seems as though King seldom did any less than first-rate shows, and there are many worse starting points to work from than this 43-minute collection of live performances. The quick, jaunty "Kansas City" (which manages to quote a bit from "Down in the Bottom") leads into a pair of extended numbers, "Someday Baby" and "Truckers Blues," which showcase King's way with an extended jam, his voice and guitar lofting an uncredited band across more than 30 minutes of spellbinding continuous music-making, in low and high gear, respectively. Potential purchasers should be cautioned, however, that King's vocals on "Trucker's Blues" are somewhat off-mike, or the connections were bad, and parts of that cut do sound like a good-quality bootleg. Surprisingly, the rest of the CD is of consistently better quality, culminating with the soaring and beautiful King original "Rainin' in California." In all, this is an entertaining disc, if not significantly better (much less his "best") than a lot of other Albert King material that's on the market -- it's not what it claims, but it's good listening nonetheless.

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