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Monday, July 27, 2009

Albert King: Wednesday Night In San Francisco


ALBERT KING: WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO (1968/1990)

1) Watermelon Man; 2) Why You Mean To Me; 3) I Get Evil; 4) Got To Be Some Changes; 5) Personal Manager; 6) Born Under A Bad Sign; 7) Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong.

Twenty years after Live Wire established Albert's reputation as the ultimate live bluesman once and for all, someone had the great idea to go ahead and release a set of additional performances from the same Fillmore dates that produced the original album. For Albert King fans, this is not less than a Godsend. For everyone else, it should be perfectly clear why Live Wire, upon initial release, was not made into a double album: back in 1968, people sort of looked ascance at releasing the same album twice, much less at the same time.

There is nothing new whatsoever — the songs have different titles, but they're still the same two numbers: fast blues and slow blues. Even the improvisational solos are more or less the same, because, obviously, it's hard to expect Albert learning a bunch of new tricks in a matter of 24 hours. And, alas, such classic numbers as 'Born Under A Bad Sign' and 'Personal Manager', freed from the tight guidance of the Memphis Horns, pale in respect to their studio counterparts.

King gets somewhat more prominent backing from James Washington on the organ, but that's about the only difference I feel. Everything else is the same. Rating this thing is useless — either you love Albert and you get it, or you respect and like Albert and you have no need for it what­soever, or you hate Albert and you have one more excuse for accusing the music industry of overproduction.

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