Friday, July 1, 2011

I'll Play the Blues for You Albert King album

Albert King possessed one of the most recognizable guitar tones in modern electric blues - or rock n' roll for that matter - and he left an indelible mark on both styles. His huge hands could bend and shape notes into cries, screams, or whispers, often within the same phrase. Released in 1972,
I'll Play the Blues for Youis one of a handful of solid albums he released on Stax Records in the late-60s and early-70s in which he was backed by soul and funk bands, rather than straight blues units. Here he's supported by the Bar-Kays, the Memphis Horns, and other members of the legendary Stax family, and the results are soulful, stinging, and mighty funky. "Little Brother (Make a Way)" is a bouncy number with a social message a la label mates the Staple Singers, while the title track and "Breaking Up Somebody's Home" are smoky, sinister songs that stretch past seven minutes, allowing King ample room to attack the strings while the band holds down the groove. And in case anyone had forgotten, he reminds the crowd on the live version of "I'll Be Doggone" that "James Brown ain't the only man who can get funky," before going on to prove his point.