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Blues Photo of the Week – Albert Collins – The Master Of The Telecaster

Blues Photo of the Week: Albert Collins – The Master Of The Telecaster

This Blues Photo of the week, we check out Albert Collins and his impact on newer generations of guitar players!

Hailing from Texas Albert Collins is an American electric blues guitarist and singer with a distinctive guitar style.  Furthermore, he’s noted for his powerful playing and his use of altered tunings and a capo.  Lastly, his long association with the Fender Telecaster, led to the title “The Master of the Telecaster.”  He started out playing the piano, by age 12, he decided to focus on the guitar after hearing John Lee Hooker’s song “Boogie Chillen.”   Collins was 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 was seeing Albert Collins at a rock festival in 1969 that turned my head around.” Two years later, Collins played at Cray’s high-school graduation party. This was when the ice-pick sound sunk in deep: “That was it,” Cray recalled. “That changed my whole life around. From that moment I started seriously studying the 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 lead 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.

He is also remembered for his humorous stage presence, which is recounted in the documentary “Antones: Austin’s Home of the Blues.” Collins was playing a lengthy solo one night at Antone’s and left the building whilst still playing. He returned to the stage still playing the solo and resumed entertaining the audience in person. Shortly afterwards a man arrived at the club and gave Collins the pizza he had just ordered.  

About the Photographer:

This picture was taken by Kirk West, A music lover who made a career out of music photography.  West is first and foremost a music lover. He has never been able to get enough of the people, places, and things that comprise the life of a touring artist. In search of the richness that musicians and their music bring the world, his travels and life have taken him from his Iowa birthplace to far flung reaches of the globe, camera in hand.  In 1989 he served as the tour manager for the Allman Brothers Band for over 20 years.  Check out his web-site to read more about his fantastic adventures and other artists he has captured as a part of musical history.


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