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Albert King - Fillmore East, NYC, 1971 Plus Early Studio Recordings

  by Lisa Torem

published: 19 / 11 / 2017

Albert King - Fillmore East, NYC, 1971 Plus Early Studio Recordings
Label: Retroworld
Format: CD


Impressive compilation of live and studio recorded electric blues from the legendary Albert King, on which he plays alongside a legion of superb backing musicians

Albert King, born in Mississippi, and popularly known as being one of “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” (along with BB King and Freddie King) was also famous for ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’ and his major influence on a legion of future players. This landmark-album set begins with the blazing instrumental, ‘Knock on Wood’, where King’s high-pitched, beginning stanzas sabotage the senses and it is that very brashness that fuels the upside-down blues guitarist into a blissful frenzy. It’s early on, too, where his talent at picking backing musicians comes to the fore. They know when to stay on simmer or come to a full boil. King also displays so much personality as he taunts the crowd in these live recordings: “We’re gonna have a swinging time tonight. Are you listening? Can you hear me? You do your own thing, uh huh.” Things get more personal on ‘Blues Power’— “Hey, baby, there’s got to be some changes made…” His tongue and cheek “If you don’t like my peaches, you don’t have to shake my tree” really resonates. His voice comes off as husky, but sweet. The bass and horns, moments ago, skulking beneath the hook, claim a righteous place. King levels: “If you don’t dig the blues, you have a hole in your soul.” What follows is more amazing interaction between King and his players and, of course, the audience. Before “spoken word” became a legitimate genre, there was Albert King, coursing through the veins of his legion of fans, explaining the music that comes out of dire straits. ‘Crosscut Saw’ contains a terrific word salad, but life slows down for the emphatic ‘Personal Message’. The last song in this 'Fillmore East' section is ‘Instrumental Jam', where the truculent brass players need no steroids. The next section consists of twenty 'Early Studio Recordings'. Highlights include: ‘I Walked All Night Long' where King is out “looking for my angel child,” which stuns with its sharp vocals and all-around chill vibes. ‘I Got Evil’ arouses the dead with angular shifts and a heartfelt, over-the-top back story. ‘Don’t Throw your Love on Me So Strong’ benefits from the tingling of 88 keys. There’s the catchy, short instrumental ‘This Morning,’ followed by ‘I’ll Do Anything You Say,’ where, refreshingly, the lyric embraces the man-woman relationship. ‘Ooh-ee Baby’ features more wonderful piano chops and finds King purring like no other artist ever will. Another thriller is ‘Let’s Have a Natural Ball’ where King downright scats and on which there is an unmistakable jazz flourish. ‘What Can I Do to Change Your Mind?’ and ‘Got to Be Some Changes Made’ follow the blues format to a blissful tee and then there is the tightly-knit ‘Dyna Flow’, on which the keys bring the ballad to a much higher plain. ‘Goin’ to California’ is enhanced by very inventive drumming. The closer, ‘Had You Told It Like It Was (It Wouldn’t Be Like It Is)' leaves the listener begging for more. Overall the album includes a fine mix of players: Wilbur Thompson (trumpet), Harold White (tenor sax), Freddie Robinette (baritone sax), Lee Otis Wright (bass0, Kenny Burdell Rice on drums, plus the following crème of the crop pianists: Sam Wallis, Johnnie Johnson, James Horn and Ike Turner.

Track Listing:-
1 Intro By Bill Graham
2 Knock On Wood (Instrumental)
3 Blues Power
4 Crosscut Saw
5 Personal Manager
6 Instrumental Jam
7 I Walked All Night Long
8 I Get Evil
9 Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong
10 This Morning
11 I'll Do Anything You Say
12 Ooh-Ee Baby
13 Blues At Sunrise
14 Let's Have A Natural Ball
15 I've Made Nights By Myself
16 What Can I Do To Change Your Mind
17 Dyna Flow
18 Got To Be Some Changes Made
19 Goin' To California
20 Had You Told It Like It Was (It Wouldn't Be Like It Is)

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