Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"The Very Best of Freddy King" - (2005)

If you are an Eric Clapton fan then you are a Freddy King fan. You just might not know it. Quickly scanning the first 3 decades of Eric Clapton’s career will give you some proof of that. From “Hideaway” with John Mayall in the 1960’s; to “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” in the 1970’s; and even on into the late 1980’s cover version of “Tore Down” on his “Journeyman” album; Clapton has never been shy in giving credit to those who came before him.

All of the songs represented here were recorded between August 1960 and July 1961 in King’s own studio in Cincinnati, Ohio. He used a house band instead of his usual working band based in Chicago. I don’t know why he did this. But the result is a collection of some of his all-time best work done in a clear and sharp style.

A native of Texas, King was born in 1934 in Gilmer. At 16 he moved to Chicago and worked in a saw mill. He spent nights working in the nightclubs, at first playing with 2 harmonica players; Little Sonny Cooper and Earl Payton. He cut his first record at age 22 in 1956. By 1958 he kissed the saw mill goodbye and began working full time as a musician.

At about the same time as this he was introduced to Sonny Thompson, a piano player who would go on to co-write most of King’s hits with him. 11 of the 25 songs on this CD were co-authored by King-Thompson. And, with the exception of 3 tracks his name appears in some capacity; even solo; as the composer of all the rest.

Peter Green of the original Fleetwood Mac was another huge fan of Freddy King and he recorded many of the same songs as Clapton did. The two were both products of the John Mayall music machine which seemed to spout great guitarists non-stop throughout the 1960’s. And while they all had somewhat different styles; they all had one big thing in common; they were all influenced by Freddy King.

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