So tonight my musical mix consisted of some old blues and some new bluegrass. On the way to Target and during my grocery shopping blues was the genre and the album was Albert King’s first album on Stax Born Under a Bad Sign. The album. Now I have never been a big fan of Albert or Freddy King, the other two thirds of the “Kings of Blues” the other third of course being B.B King. So while I don’t have any of Albert’s music in my collection I am well aware of his influence on the generation of blues musician I like, artists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. They were strongly influenced by Albert and many of their guitar solos are close approximations to those found on Born Under a Bad Sign.
According to Wikipedia:
The release of Born Under a Bad Sign in 1967 “would change the face of American music,modernizing the blues”. “‘It was the great divide of modern blues, the point at which the music was rescued from slipping into derivative obscurity’”.
The album caught my attention when I was reviewing Rollings Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time. The album sits at 499. Listening to the album, it was great to hear the original versions of songs that I know, like “Born Under a Bad Sign” (I do think the original is the best version)and “Crosscut Saw”, plus other great tracks that at the time were already classics like “Oh Pretty Woman” and “The Hunter”. Additionally, there are two tracks that became signature songs for Albert “Personal Manager” and “Laundromat Blues”. These tracks are the foundation of Albert King’s musical career.
The album’s crossover appeal may have come from the presence of Booker T. and the MGs, which meant that the other musicians included Steve Cropper on rhythm guitar, Isaac Hayes on piano, Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass guitar and of course Booker T. Jones on organ and piano not a bad group at all, when the lead guitar is being supplied by a great player like Albert King! So check it out it still sound great even after 44 years!
Now the bluegrass album is the 2010 release from Jett’s Creek Guilty and it’s a fine bluegrass album with lots of great pickin’ and singin’ and since it’s so late tonight I’ll wait until later in the week to tell you more about it!
So for now here’s Albert with a great performance of “Born Under a Bad Sign” featuring his Gibson Flying V guitar named “Lucy”. Pretty close to Lucille, huh. But then both B.B. and Albert were from the same town Indianola, Mississippi!