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Monday, September 28, 2009

Albert King: Funky London

ALBERT KING: FUNKY LONDON (1972-1974?; 1994)

1) Cold Sweat; 2) Can't You See What You're Doing To Me; 3) Funky London; 4) Lonesome; 5) Bad Luck; 6) Sweet Fingers; 7) Finger On The Trigger; 8) Driving Wheel; 9) Lovingest Woman In Town..

A bunch of outtakes from some of King's Stax sessions from the early Seventies (possibly earlier as well, I'm not informed of the recording dates). The review will be brief: there is only one track here that guarantees the purchase, which is the instrumental cover of James Brown's 'Cold Sweat' — King's worship of Brown could be out of place when he tried to imitate Brown's audience teasing manners on stage, but it worked all right when he simply did funky James Brown num­bers with his faithful rhythm section, embellishing them with his blues licks. This here 'Cold Sweat' chugs along almost as fine as the original, and will also please those who dislike Brown's neglect for melody, because that's exactly what King's guitar adds to the proceedings.

Everything else is stuff we have heard a million times in better or equal quality. Most of it is by the numbers blues that, to me, gives the impression of rehearsal material, performed in warm-up pur­poses before the recording of King's truly serious contributions to his official albums. It's all tight and solid, but strictly sparkless. The title track, another funky instrumental, stands out a little sim­ply by being funkier than the rest, but 'Cold Sweat' displays more energy and enthusiasm.

I have this on a CD that's paired with the earlier semi-official Live At Wattstax album, recorded at about the same time as Blues At Sunrise, and in terms of basic passion, it is much better, ex­cept all of its songs ('Killing Floor', 'I'll Play The Blues For You', etc.) have already been played live with the same fire on other releases. Bottomline: all of this is heavily expendable, although not for the dedicated fan.

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