175

Albert King: Talkin' Blues

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Albert King: Talkin' Blues There's little need for explanation when it comes to Albert King. Though he never had a profile near that of B.B., the "other" King, he has been incredibly influential on generations of blues musicians. Like fellow lefty Jimi Hendrix, he played a right-handed guitar upside-down and backwards. More than most blues musicians, he lingered on stretched notes to provide emotional emphasis. And rather than aiming for blues purity—which would have been perfectly in character given his Delta and Arkansas origins—he integrated popular styles into his sound.

The 1978 live performance documented on Talkin' Blues was recorded in Chicago and never previously released. As a snapshot of a musical vision in flux, it's quite informative. Signature songs like the opener, "Born Under A Bad Sign," receive a groove-infused treatment from King's core power trio. The horns that chime in regularly throughout these tunes provide rhythmic support and a certain degree of expansiveness, though they tend to be disappointingly repetitive. (Surely that's a conscious choice, but not to my liking.)

Whatever goes on in the background, this is Albert King's show all the way. His playing is warm, articulate, and inviting, with a strong vocal quality. In style, it tends to veer toward the rock and R&B elements that helped King reach a broad audience—check out the pure soul of "The Very Thought of You," for example. On the other tracks his vocals, suitably rough-edged, thrust out in bursts. All in a day's work.

This delayed release has one singular problem. Those three damn interview tracks thrown in the middle of the recording (hint: the record is called Talkin' Blues ) just bring it down. It would have been so much better to save the indulgent talk for the end, instead of interrupting the flow of the music. This is a live show, folks. No need for King to break in and tell us that he "understand[s] the blues."

Oh well. At least these interruptions are all 30 seconds or less, and the bulk of the interview arrives after the music ends.

As a new addition to King's immense discography going back to 1962, this record fills an important gap. In some sense it's a historical document, as the interview emphasizes. Well above average among these recordings, Talkin' Blues has much to offer for dedicated fans and novices alike. It's as good an introduction as any to King's late '70s work.


Visit Thirsty Ear on the web.


Track Listing: Born Under A Bad Sign; Interview (Understanding the Blues); The Very Thought of You; Rub My Back; Interview (Make Sure to Add the Blues); I'll Play the Blues for You; Blues at Sunrise; Interview (I don't want to be rich); (I Feel Like) Breaking Up Somebody's Home; Please Come Back To Me; Full-Length Interview.

Personnel: Albert Collins: guitar, voice; plus other musicians.

Title: Talkin' Blues | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "The Busker" CD/LP/Track Review The Busker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "Born In An Urban Ruin" CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Obfusc/ation" CD/LP/Track Review Obfusc/ation
by Doug Collette
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "My Picture" CD/LP/Track Review My Picture
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Syzygy" CD/LP/Track Review Syzygy
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "PausaLive" CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.