Blues News

Albert Collins – The Ice Man

Albert Collins – Photo of The Week

Hailing from Texas Albert Collins is an American electric blues guitarist and singer with a distinctive guitar style.  Noted for his powerful playing and his use of altered tunings and a capo.  His association with the Fender Telecaster, led to the title “The Master of the Telecaster.”  He starts out playing the piano, by age 12, he decides to focus on the guitar after hearing John Lee Hooker’s song “Boogie Chillen.”   Collins is an inspiration to a generation of Texas guitar players, including Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Vaughan and others. 

In an interview, Robert Cray said, “It is seeing Albert Collins at a rock festival in 1969 that turns my head around.” Two years later, Collins plays at Cray’s high-school graduation party. This is when the ice-pick sound sinks in deep: “That is it,” Cray recalls. “That changes my whole life around. From that moment I start seriously studying the blues.”

Photo Of The Week – Location

Captured live at the Crystal Palace Bowl in London on July 4, 1992. Albert Collins is taking over the stage at the American Music Festival – Midsummer Blues.  

Albert Collins Live Performances:

Collins is known for his informal and audience-engaging live performances. He would frequently leave the stage while still playing to mingle with the audience. The use of an extended guitar leads allowed Collins to go outside clubs to the sidewalk. One anecdote stated that he left a club with the audience in tow to visit the store next door to buy a candy bar without once stopping his act.

Most remember his humorous stage presence, which is recounted in the documentary “Antones: Austin’s Home of the Blues.” Collins is playing a lengthy solo one night at Antone’s and left the building while still playing. He returns to the stage still playing the solo and resumes entertaining the audience in person. Shortly afterwards a man arrives at the club and gives Collins the pizza he had just placed an order for. 

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