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Monday, October 26, 2009

Albert King: Live Blues


ALBERT KING: LIVE BLUES (1977)

1) Watermelon Man; 2) Don't Burn Down The Bridge; 3) Blues At Sunrise; 4) That's What The Blues Is All About; 5) Stormy Monday; 6) Kansas City; 7) I'm Gonna Call You As Soon As The Sun Goes Down; 8) Matchbox Holds My Clothes; 9) Jam In A Flat; 10) As The Years Go Passing By; 11) Overall Junction; 12) I'll Play The Blues For You.

Also available as simply Live, and — I believe — as Blues From The Road, with the latter spread over 2 CDs and featuring the entire performance, whereas current, and most widespread, editions of Live Blues truncate some of the lengthier numbers ('Jam In A Flat').

According to most sources, the tracks here were recorded at Montreux in 1975, but the exact date does not matter as long as it is clearly understood that the album reflects the "Tomato King", wi­thout any backing from Stax. Also, on some of the songs you might be surprised by a very non-King style of playing, particularly 'As The Years Go Passing By'; this is because Albert is backed by Irish guitar hero Rory Gallagher, and sometimes even condescends to duelling with him — which makes for just about the most exciting moments on this otherwise standard fare disc.

By 1975, King didn't have anything left to prove, and it was one thing to play before an unex­pe­rienced, but demanding audience of Frisco hippies whom you had to convert to your own faith, and quite another to present yourself to a jaded Mont­reux audience of professional jazz and blues junkies who knew exactly what they were going to get and who weren't at all ready to take no bull from the man. So he played it straight, predictable, and devoid of surprises. The backing band is slack and lazy. Gallagher does not overplay. The selections are the same old chestnuts. The licks are known by heart. Good album. Nice album. Let's move on.

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