Texan Freddie King was born in Gilmer in 1934, and he died in Dallas on December 28, 1976. His musical legacy includes a his journeymanship in Chicago's West Side that also helped to define the region's cutting edge sound. His fluent finger-stylings and thumb/finger-picking, coupled with a boisterous falsetto vocal character, combined to develop his own sound. After ten years of beating the Windy City pavement, Freddie signed with the Cincinatti-based King/Federal labels for 1960 and 1961 sessions that produced the cream atop his foreshortened body of work.
Eight Federal sides laid down during that period are included in their original forms here. The biscuit bursts under the heavyweight status of his classics: "Have You Ever Loved A Woman," "You've Got To Love Her With A Feeling," "Lonesome Whistle Blues", "I'm Tore Down," "Someday After Awhile (You'll Be Sorry)." His slicing emotion-laden voice carries and cuts with the brilliance of his every notation and sustain. Equally impressive from the same sessions come three instrumentals that still enjoy the timeless strengths of their initial releases: "Hideaway," "San-Ho-Zay," and "The Stumble."
King moved on to Atlantic Records waxing two LPs on their Cotillion offshoot: "My Feeling For The Blues", produced by King Curtis and from that association, is also on this platter. Freddie pulls off some mighty fine string work on this one! Jumping aboard Leon Russell's Shelter Records in the early 1970s, Freddie's formulas took a harder rock-tinged flavor, some have Donald "Duck' Dunn on bass and Russell on piano and guitar backing. "Palace of the King", "Going Down", his take on Big Bill Broonzy's "Key To the Highway", "Big Legged Woman", and his anthemic "Woman Across The River" represent that Shelter period in this collection. A solo acoustic version of "Dust My Broom" and three more cuts from a later RSO label affiliation close it up. "Pack It Up" features Ray Davies on the electric piano and clavinet; "Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do" is a 1975 live version; and the 1974 "Sugar Sweet" is just that with Eric Clapton sharing the guitar chores with Freddie.
This is one of the finest retrospectives you will find on the market. A musical genius that left us too soon, Freddie King will never be forgotten. His front-to-back roster of hits on this biscuit will only reinforce his Olympian blues stature. No collection will be complete without this remastered tour de force!
Hip-O Records; c/o Universal Music Enterprises;
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