100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

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Freddy King

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King was born in Texas, but in 1950, when he was sixteen, his family moved to Chicago, where he would sneak into clubs to play with Muddy Waters' band. His style was a mixture of country and urban blues, and his instrumental sides such as "Hide Away," "Just Pickin" and "The Stumble," from the early Sixties, had immense impact on the British blues scene — Eric Clapton says King was one of the first guitarists he tried to copy. His playing employed taut, melodic riffs that erupted into frantic, wailing solos on the upper strings. King, who also recorded for the Cotillion, Shelter and RSO labels, died at forty-two of heart failure in 1976.

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