Earl King
@ Coffman Union Grand Ballroom, March 15, 1997

Earl King 3/15/97
Coffman Union Grand Ballroom
Photo © 1997 by Tom Asp. All rights reserved
When Earl King walks on stage you just get the feeling you are in for a great show. Maybe its his bright red suit or his self-assured demeanor. You know that he knows what playing the blues is all about. Once he starts playing his guitar its time to just sit back and enjoy the show.

Earl King has been playing blues since the early 50's when he first saw his greatest influence Guitar Slim (Eddie Jones). He said Guitar Slim was responsible for him wanting to play the guitar. Earl is a flashy dresser like his mentor and his guitar playing shows flashes of genius with his ringing single string picking. Eddie Jones died in 1959 but he would have been proud of the way Earl played his hit The Things I Used To Do, it was just outstanding.

Born in New Orleans in 1934, Earl King has been writing and performing for over 40 years. He has had a number of hits done by fellow artists like Fats Domino and Professor Longhair. Even Jimi Hendrix had a hit with his song Come On. One of his best songs, Those Lonely, Lonely Nights, recorded in 1955 sure ranks up there as one of my all time favorites and can be found on his 1987 Black Top release Glazed, with Roomful of Blues. Two of his recent albums, Hard River To Cross and Sexual Telepathy give you a sampling of his song writing, guitar playing a vocal prowess. But I am still waiting for a definitive collection of his 1950's ACE recordings to be released on CD. Now that would be a treat!

At the end of the show Earl did his trademark walk-about the audience (as far as his chord would let him anyway) with his guitar held behind his head while he played some blistering guitar riffs that just about brought tears to your eyes. It may have been cold in Minnesota that weekend but the two "Kings" brought some hot New Orleans soul to keep us warm.

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at: mnblues@aol.com

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Copyright © 1997 by Ray M. Stiles. All rights reserved.