'Born Under a Bad Sign' by Albert King - Wed, Apr. 12, 9pm EDT

Albert King had a heavy influence on the British Invasion (for a prime example check out Cream’s version of the title track of this album), but he was popular in the south before that. Born Under a Bad Sign was actually his studio second album, but his first on the legendary Stax label.  It was released in 1967 and although it consisted largely of released singles, the album was a major breakthrough for him.  His backing band on the album consisted of Booker T & the MG’s and the Memphis Horns as well as Isaac Hayes on piano.  Not a shabby group to say the least. Combine that with the man himself and it’s no wonder why it’s one of the most influential blues album of all time.

Albert King, or "The Velvet Bulldozer" (apparently because of his smooth singing and large size) was an interesting guy too, which probably didn’t hinder his popularity any.  He is mostly known for playing a Flying V style electric guitar, an axe more commonly seen in the hands of metal guitarists.  But that’s only part of it. He was lefty in a day where lefty guitars were not commonplace. Hendrix famously used an upside down righty guitar but restrung it to have the low E on top.  King used an upside down righty guitar but did not restring it - hence, he had the high E on top and the low E on the bottom.  And he used various open tunings too so those strings weren’t even likely tuned to E’s anyway.  At the end of the day what ultimately matters is how he made it all sound. And of course it sounded great. Albert, one of "Three Kings of the Blues Guitar" (along with B.B. King and Freddie King) could make that guitar sing.  And his singing and cool demeanor really brought the whole thing together. 

So I invite you to join “Album Night” on Wednesday, April 12 at 9pm EDT for a closer listen to the first blues album of the series, Born Under a Bad Sign by Albert King.

Here are the players:
Albert King – lead guitar and vocals
Steve Cropper – rhythm guitar
Booker T. Jones – organ, piano
Donald "Duck" Dunn – bass guitar
Al Jackson, Jr. – drums
Isaac Hayes – piano
Wayne Jackson – trumpet
Andrew Love – tenor saxophone
Joe Arnold – baritone saxophone, flute

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'Born Under a Bad Sign' by Albert King

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