ALBERT COLLINS: FROSTBITE (1980)
Very close to the successful formula of Ice Pickin' and, therefore, nowhere near as interesting, but with the same band, same style, and new waves of inspiration triggered by the sales of the previous album, Frostbite never really lets down if you do not expect too much. If anything, Albert gets even more revved up on some of the numbers, e. g. 'If You Love Me Like You Say' and especially the fast-paced 'Brick', on which he clearly shows, once and for all, that he only used to do minimalistic solos because he wanted to: there is a lot of fast, flashy, and clean playing here that could have easily inspired even a young Stevie Ray Vaughan.
There is also a slight feeling of ease all across the album, as the man relies less and less on traditional recipés and injects more of his own personal ideas and sense of humour. 'The Highway Is Like A Woman' is a fairly original batch of metaphors, and, to my knowledge, contains the first creative use of the "slippery and/when wet" double entendre six years before Bon Jovi spoiled all the fun. 'Don't Go Reaching Across My Plate' is actually a moody, sax-driven lounge number decrying ill table manners, for God's sake — in a fairly literal way, too.
Best of all, and a true classic in the «what this instrument is capable of», genre, is the nine-minute epic 'Snowed In', telling a harsh tale of getting about during a particularly harsh Chicago winter. Not only is Albert completely in his «frosty» element here, but he uses the time wisely, alternating standard 12-bar soloing with lots of funny guitar noises, as he imitates the sound of snow crunching under one's feet, the sound of keys rattling against door locks, and, of course, sets of futile attempts to rev up the frosted engine. One serious listen to this track, and there is just no way that you won't be able to single Mr. Collins out of the endless line of generic blues players.
There is no way, either, that anyone could like Ice Pickin' and dislike Frostbite; with the frontman and the band in good form throughout, just another thumbs up for Mr. «Razor Blade».
Check "Frostbite" (CD) on Amazon
Check "Frostbite" (MP3) on Amazon