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Blues Masters: Freddie King, Vol. 3

Freddie King

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Album Review

This is the third and final volume compiling all of the material Freddie King (strangely spelled "Freddy" on all three discs) recorded for the King/Federal label. It picks up at a session on November 29, 1962, and continues until his last recordings for the imprint on September 14, 1966. A full two years separated the final two dates, but his style remained similar even though a young, completely unidentifiable Lonnie Mack was added on second guitar for his last Federal studio recordings. While there are a handful of cheesy tunes aimed at the teen market ("Surf Monkey" and "Monkey Donkey" reflect an odd simian theme, with the latter describing a pseudo dance not far removed from the twist), King basically sticks to the tough Texas blues and R&B that was his forte. By this time, he had thankfully abandoned the schlocky bossa nova and twist music that marred Vol. 2 of this three-disc history. On even the least successful tracks, such as the surf instrumental "Fish Fare," King's guitar still stings, providing relief from the by the numbers backing and song structure. None of these 27 tracks nibbled at the singles charts or are even historically influential, yet their obscurity makes them a gold mine for King fans who want to dig deeper into his catalog. There are also some diamonds in the rough here, like the stabbing slow blues of "You've Got Me Licked," a powerful song in the "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" style with King providing a cutting-edge solo. The remastered sound is excellent, providing transparency to King's voice and especially guitar that adds clarity to the bluesman's already legendary skills. Nimble remote fingers will certainly help the experience, but this is a most welcome compilation, although obviously not the place for newcomers to start their Freddie King collections.

Biography

Born: 03 September 1934 in Gilmer, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Guitarist Freddie King rode to fame in the early '60s with a spate of catchy instrumentals which became instant bandstand fodder for fellow bluesmen and white rock bands alike. Employing a more down-home (thumb and finger picks) approach to the B.B. King single-string style of playing, King enjoyed success on a variety of different record labels. Furthermore, he was one of the first bluesmen to employ a racially integrated group on-stage behind him. Influenced by Eddie Taylor,...
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