The King's Henchmen

The King's Henchmen were likely the same as, or very similar to, the group that traded under the name of the Alan Freed Rock'n'Roll Band. That latter outfit played at some of the concerts promoted and presented by legendary early rock & roll radio DJ Alan Freed, as well as recording some tracks under their own name. The King's Henchmen's LP, in fact, is sometimes classified in discographies as an Alan Freed record, owing to its title Alan Freed Presents the King's Henchmen Playing New Orleans Rock'n'Roll. Freed himself, however, didn't play any music on the album; those honors fell to saxophonists King Curtis, Sam "The Man" Taylor, and Lowell "Count" Hastings, as well as pianist Ernie Hayes, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist/guitarist Everett Barksdale, and unknowns on bass and drums. The 12 tracks on the LP, all cut in February 1958, were routine, predictable rock & roll instrumentals emphasizing honking saxes with something of an assembly line feel. All 12 of them are on the 2008 CD compilation A Stompin' Good Time, which also has12 tracks done in November 1957 that were credited to the Alan Freed Rock'n'Roll Big Band. ~ Richie Unterberger

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