http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/5139d24a8a5a23135e35a20aa622a26b4f40bd4f.jpg Lovejoy

Albert King


Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
September 30, 1971

Albert King cut his first blues for Parrot records in 1952 and has seen ups and downs in the nearly twenty years that followed, as he pursued the career of an urban bluesman. In succeeding years he enjoyed periods of popularity when he recorded for Bobbin and King, but it wasn't until he came to Stax in the mid-Sixties that his career jumped. His initial 45 release ("Laundromat Blues" "Overall Junction") proved his mettle and further releases (including his now classic Blues Power album) allowed him to make the move into the Fillmore and white audience "success" on the coattails of Butterfield and Mayall. His artistic capabilities, however, seemed to have dried up with the late-Sixties release of King Sings King which was a dismal failure, as King attempted to subvert early Presley hits into his Born Under A Bad Sign (King's first and most brilliant Stax album) format. With this, most recent, release Albert King recaptures all that he abandoned.

From the opening doom-laden guitar intro into "Honky Tonk Woman" through King's blues-ballad treatment of "Like A Road Leading Home" he convinces, both vocally and musically, that the fire is still there. All that was needed was material and a producer to rekindle it and Don Nix has done a fine job on both counts. Other outstanding tunes include the "autobiographical" "Bay Area Blues," a gruff, slide-guitar reshaping of Taj Mahal's "She Caught the Katy and Left Me A Mule To Ride," and the moralistic "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven," the latter containing a brilliant, high-register guitar solo. Speaking of guitar-work, check out King's rave-up fury on the uptempo "Going Back To luka," that flows, with a "Mystery Train" beat, and galvanizes the essence of King's approach to the blues. An approach that, I trust, will result in more albums like this in the near future.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »