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Albert King – Blues Power – Fillmore

Albert King – Blues Power Fillmore

Albert King. So, some serious magic happens on one particular night at the Fillmore East on September 23, 1970.  One of the “three kings” performs a concert that to some, is life changing. Not only is he a major influence on most of the top blues musicians performing today but also, he’s one of the kings that helped pave the path of the modern blues guitar music. From This video, you can hear that unique tone he’s creating. In addition to his raw talent, he had a habit of tuning his strings down 3 frets. From an E down to C# which is how he gets those crazy bends. 

Graham and company record the performance which later becomes “Live Wire/Blues Power. The album influences the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as to other figures in blues and rock including Robbie Robertson of The Band and Gary Moore of Skid Row and Thin Lizzy.

Early Beginnings

Albert King, born as Albert Nelson, was born on April 25, 1923. While growing up, he sang for a church gospel group, where his father also played guitar. He is one of 13 children and had to help the family by picking cotton in Arkansas, where his family moves when he is 8. As a child he builds his own cigar box guitar and teaches himself how to play it. His backwards left-handed approach leads him to learn to bend strings by pulling them down rather than pushing them up.

Initially he plays music with gospel groups, but once he heard the deep feeling blues of such figures as Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson, he gave up gospel and fully pursues his passion for the blues. He earned the nickname “The Velvet Bulldozer”, as one of his odd jobs while pursuing music operating a bulldozer, and because he had such a smooth vocal style.

In 1966, Albert King scores a record deal with the legendary label Stax Records after moving to Memphis, Tennessee. The Stax records were recorded with the famous Booker T. & the MG’s backing band. This infuses his music with a soulful sound that helps pave the way for his crossover success. King soon score his biggest hit with the blues classic “Born Under a Bad Sign”, written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell.

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