By James Calemine
Albert King never tolerated nonsense. His guitar-playing captured the essence of his personality. He played a right-handed guitar upside down, yet he was left-handed. King carried a loaded .45 pistol with him in the studio. He stands as one of America’s seminal bluesman. Born in Indianola, Mississippi, his songs such as “Born Under A Bad Sign”, “Cross Cut Saw” and “Laundromat Blues” charted in the Top 50 upon their release.
King influenced guitarists such Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Among a long list of accomplishments, King recorded a tribute album to Elvis Presley and even played with the great Steve Cropper as well as the Hi Records gang through the years. King died in 1992 of a massive heart attack.
The Concord Music Group released King’s STAX album I’ll Play The Blues For You. 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of this landmark recording. This reissue contains four previously unreleased bonus tracks, and newly written liner notes by music historian Bill Dahl.
I’ll Play The Blues For You was originally recorded during 1972 in Memphis. The Bar-Kays and The Movement served as the rhythm section on this recording, which also featured the legendary Memphis Horns. The collection opens with King’s rendition of the Jerry Beach song “I’ll Play The Blues For You”. King incorporates more of the Memphis soul sound in these tunes than his trademark cut throat, straight-up blues style. King covers a song Ann Peebles enjoyed a hit with titled “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”.
An R&B-laced “The High Cost of Loving” features signature guitar licks from King. “I’ll Be Doggone” epitomizes King’s power along with the soul machine of the musicians backing him up. “Don’t Burn The Bridge” chugs along like a cross between Otis Redding and Booker T & The MGs. “Angel of Mercy” exists as a true gem on this release…a tale of a weary soul trying to just get along in this mean old world. The final track on this album is an amazing instrumental titled “Albert’s Stomp”. The contents of this release contain raw blues power at its finest…