Sunday, May 8, 2016

Albert King Born Under A Bad Sign 1967

Technically not an produced as an album, but rather a collection of singles and B sides. Stax knew their game, and backed-up King with Booker T. and the MGs and the Memphis horns (the Stax house band). The combination of a expressive blues singer and hot guitarist with the soulful MGs was a brilliant move. Suddenly, the blues became as accessible as soul music. The record sold well, and remains a classic that has found a home in any serious record collector's stacks. The record is sometimes credited as the point when the blues became contemporary. Its influence on rock guitarists is easy to hear and appreciate. 

Of course the title cut is a classic, and was made more famous with Cream's cover version. The funky Crosscut Saw, with great horn charts and King's sweet guitar solo is another fine moment. Blues classics Down Don't Bother Me, As The Years Go Passing By, and I Almost Lost My Mind mine deep blues with King's sensitive vocal and searing guitar. The R&B side is represented by Kansas City,  The Hunter, and The Very Thought Of You. There isn't much weak material at all, and everything benefits from the previously mentioned combination of artist and band.

Sometimes a classic sounds a bit dated, a bit of its time. But this one holds up today just as it did when new. Sundazed released an expanded vinyl version with two additional B sides, King compositions Funk-Shun and Overall Junction. Whatever the format, the music is timeless.