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Albert King ~ Inducted Into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Updated on June 4, 2013

I just watched the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony for 2013 . . . not at all interested in Rush or Public Enemy, a bit interested in Quincy Jones and Lou Adler, very happy to see Heart inducted - but I was watching for Albert King. For me, Albert King was/is giant . . . giant in my own musical education and development, and simply giant in the depth and urgency and beauty of his music.

I found the Blues in the British invasion sounds of Cream and Ten Years After and Savoy Brown, etc. I gradually came to recognize that my favorite cuts on LP after LP were always 'the slow ones', but I didn't know why. Then I gradually began to recognize the same names in parenthesis under those song titles . . . names like Willie Dixon and McKinley Morganfield (Muddy Waters), etc. Upon investing these guys, I came to discover that they were all old Black guys from a generation or two before me. Eric Clapton and Alvin Lee and Kim Simmonds, etc, had introduced me to Blues - but I didn't know it yet.

Pretty soon, in the midst of a guitar solo, I'd hear Alvin Lee say "ohh baby I'll play the Blues for you", and then Jim McCarty could be heard on the 1st Cactus LP, just before 'the slow song', telling the recording engineer "No, instead we'll do the Blues". Now that I had a name for this very specific sounding music, I went shopping . . . but, all I knew was 'Blues', nothing about who or what LPs I should be shopping for - just 'Blues'.

Fortunately for me, I came across what remains one of my very favorite LPs - Albert King's 'Albert King ~ King of the Blues Guitar' . . . 'Blues' & 'Blues Guitar', and a photo of a giant Black guy with his eyes closed as he was bending strings, that's just what I was searching for. With Booker T & Duck Dunn & Steve Cropper as his band, cut after cut set be on a life-long course of loving American Blues music. And, it was an education. It became clear that I was not the only young White kid who had discovered and fallen in love with the Blues - when I heard Albert King I thought 'Man, this guy sounds just like Clapton in 'Strange Brew' from Cream', of course, Albert King did not sound like Clapton, Clapton sounded like Albert King.

All those 1st generation British Rock guitarists learned from, and so, got their sound from, a great parade of Black American Blues players . . . from Muddy Waters to Elmore James, from Freddie King to Buddy Guy, etc, etc, etc, Page & Beck & Hendrix, all those guys stood in front of thundering drums and amplified basses, but they were all playing Blues like Robert Johnson & Big Bill Broonzy. But, I don't think you can hear anyone in the British invasion guitar players (who invented Rock & Metal, etc) as much as you can hear Albert King - his single string, note bending, Blues riffs are all over Rock guitarists, from the very beginning with Eric Clapton to the striking prowess of Stevie Ray Vaughan . . . the very first time I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan's playing (in a record shop before he broke big) I stopped, pointed to the speakers, and said out-loud 'Jimi Hendrix and Albert King had a baby, and it's this guy'.

As a player, you always know what Albert King is going to do next, and he does it in every solo he plays - and you can't wait for it. He always goes to the same place, because it's such a good place - it's the heart of what electric Blues guitar ought to sound like. Some old Blues players came from cotton fields, some from share cropping, etc - before his career in music, Albert King drove a bulldozer, and that's how he played . . . no fiddling around, no holding back. And, with no formal training, the left-handed King played a right-handed guitar upside-down and backwards.



One of the most unsung but gigantically influential musicians in popular American music, Albert King's 'Personal Manger' (below) is as flawless, scorching, and

The Sky Is Crying

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    • profile image

      Vickiw 

      5 years ago

      Hi Mickey, I cannot add to your vast store of music knowledge - I am so glad you have a great interest in it, as it makes you so obviously human! I like music of this type too, but don't have any background like yours. I like it or I don't like it, that's how it is for me! I have voted up, mostly because I am so impressed by your name dropping in this Hub. And I voted awesome too - because I know how much you like me to be awestruck by your talent. This one might even be a 'Beauty'.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      tillsontitan ~ I don't know that there's anyone you can more properly advance as 'the man' than Elvis . . . Elvis is the man. He still, to this day, defines what Rock & Roll music, what a Rock star, what 'cool' is . . . everyone who wants to be in a Rock band, who wants to be a Rock star, who wants to be cool, whether they know it or not is just trying to be Elvis. Whether they know it or not, whether they've ever listened to or seen any footage of Elvis or not, they are all following in his footsteps trying to measure-up.

      But, the thing that has to be remembered is that, before and above all that's come out of Elvis being Elvis, all the fashion and cultural stuff, the really big deal is, he was simply an astounding singer/musician. Elvis is ground zero. I referenced him a bit in my 'The Difference Between Pop And Rock Music' hub and I have a great little piece of video of him in my 'The Best Christmas Music' hub.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Gypsy ~ thanks so much . . . he's one of those artists that record companies kept trying to get a top 40 radio hit out of, and so there are some Albert King LPs that are not as good as others - I would encourage anyone to get 'Albert King - King Of The Blues Guitar', that one is perhaps his best.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Great music, great hub. The Blues led to rock and roll too! Elvis was known as the white singer who mastered the black vocal sound... the Blues! "That's All Right Momma" was one of his first cross-over songs. Can you tell I'm an Elvis fan?

      Greats like Albert King continued to keep the Blues alive and his blues guitar was unparalleled.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. Love all kinds of music. Thanks for the intro to Albert King. Will look up more by him on YouTube. Passing this on.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      That's how we first met, Mickey. It was one of your Blues hubs that drew me to you.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Shauna ~ I feel I ought to do a music hub dedicated to you, you've been so encouraging toward my music hubs. Thank you.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Pamela ~ I don't know when if it it aired, like, was broadcast - I watched it on HBO on-demand. Thanks so much for the favorable review.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Awesome, Mickey. This is the stuff I love from and about you. The Blues!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I wish I had seen the show. That is some good music. Great hub. Up!!!!

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