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Monday, August 10, 2009

Albert King: Years Gone By


1) Wrapped Up In Love Again; 2) You Don't Love Me; 3) Cockroach; 4) Killing Floor; 5) Lonely Man; 6) If The Washing Don't Get You The Rinsing Will; 7) Drowning On Dry Land; 8) Drowning On Dry Land (Instrumental); 9) Heart Fixing Business; 10) You Threw Your Love On Me Too Strong; 11) The Sky Is Crying.

Obviously, you do not change a winning formula; and, like almost every formulaic follow-up to an epochal album, Years Gone By is less interesting and exciting than Born Under A Bad Sign, but still a great romp for the freshly converted fan.

I do not hear any new techniques, tones, or licks on Years, but that is to be expected. What is ac­tually a bit more sad is that Booker T. and the MGs, still faithfully backing King, have stepped back into the shade, putting almost all the emphasis on King's guitar and personality; and no mat­ter how adorable his guitar and his personality are, they are exactly the same as before. 'Cock­roach' is the highlight because of King's playful attitude — come on, isn't it old-fashioned fun to hear a big old blues guy complain about cockroaches crawling down his arms and legs because he'd been thrown out of his house by his baby? — but on the lyrically amusing 'Heart Fixing Business' and 'If The Wa­shing Don't Get You' he doesn't really do much except for just sing and play, and so these tunes are no better and no worse than the ordinary everyday mid-tempo/slow blues from Albert.

No surprise that the best track is the one on which he gets the most interplay between himself and the backing band, particularly the horns — an instrumental rendition of the blues standard 'You Don't Love Me' (which the average listener probably knows through the entirely different Allman Bros. version), with the horns carrying the main theme. This is unusual, smooth, and impressive; blues-de-luxe at its grandest. Apart from that, it's all just decent blues. Thumbs up out of general practice and politeness, but prepare to be gallantly bored if you are not deep into the electric 12-bar enter­prise. Still, even this «generic» level is miles above the «generic» level of his upcoming career on Tomato.

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