They called him The Iceman, The Razor Blade, and The Master of the Telecaster. Albert Collins earned these nicknames for his sharp, cool guitar playing, and the Texas bluesman lived up to every one of them. Along with his band, The Icebreakers, Collins' live shows -- driven by his kinetic stage presence -- were legendary testaments to the power of the blues.
Albert Collins was born on the 1st of October, in 1932 in Houston, Texas. Being exposed to music at a very early age, his first guitar heroes soon came to be his cousin Lightnin' Hopkins and the nowadays legendary, John Lee Hooker. In 1941 the Collins family decided to move back Albert's birthplace, Houston. From the beginning he was mostly interested in the organ and the piano, but soon he found a lot bigger interest in the guitar, which he had started to play at the local church. However he didn't become really serious about his guitar playing until he in the beginning of the 50s, started to tour the black juke joints in Houston's black areas. In 1952 he formed his own group, Albert Collins & the Rhythm Rockers, which included musicians like Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones, and "Little" Milton Campbell.
His first recording, “The Freeze,” quickly gave him the reputation as one of the premier blues guitarists around, and his cool and funky guitar trademark came to mark his career permanently. Between 1958 and 1971, Albert recorded mostly instrumental Texas blues, influenced by artists as T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, and Lightning' Hopkins.
During the 60s he recorded for several independent labels like Kangaroo, Great Scott and TCF Hall. Many of his songs were given titles as “Frosty,” “Snocone,” and “Defrost.” Together with his band he also toured with different performers as blues guitar player Albert King, vocalist Little Richard and guitarist and harmonica player Jimmy Reed. In 1965 he dissolved his group and settled in Kansas City. By 1968 he was persuaded by Bob Hite, from the famous blues/rock band Canned Heat, to move to California were Hite had arranged a record deal for Albert with Imperial Recordings, with whom he cut three albums.
From 1972 to 78 Collins was quite tired of music and played seldom, also during these six years he completely stopped recording. The whole matter went so far that he during 1974 and ‘75 totally quit playing the guitar. Albert decided to return to his music career in the late 70s.