This is something of a sequel to the 1993 Ace compilation of early King sides titled Blues Guitar Hero: The Influential Early Sessions, though it took Ace nearly a decade to unleash the companion volume. All of the 24 tracks were recorded between 1961 and 1966, though some of the songs weren't released until after 1966, in a few cases not for decades; indeed, four alternate takes make their first appearance here. All of King's chart records occurred in 1961, and all were included on the prior Blues Guitar Hero: The Influential Early Sessions, so this couldn't qualify as the first-choice early King; there's no "Hide Away" or "San-Ho-Zay" here. On a musical level, though, this isn't much different in nature or quality than what you'll find on the earlier anthology. Split between vocals and instrumentals, it's top-notch R&B-blues-rock & roll crossover with stinging guitar and soulful vocals, even if the similarity of some of the songs might turn off non-aficionados.
Of the Three 'Kings' of the blues (BB, Albert and Freddy), Freddy King is perhaps the least well known these days. He enjoyed cross-over success with the white rock audiences of the 70s (hitting with albums for Cotillion, RSO and Shelter and touring extensively - his 'live' LP for German label Crosscut is about the closest thing to heavy metal blues imaginable). Yet his death from hepatitis in 1976 robbed Freddy of the kind of acclaim that the current blues revival has given BB, Albert and John Lee Hooker. There was a time, though, in the mid-'60s when his singles were among the most influential in blues, particularly for British and European audiences. His instrumental singles Hideaway and Drivin' Sideways were issued on Sue and covered by every white blues group that knew what was really happening on the R&B scene. Those two sides plus classics like (The Welfare) Turns It's Back On You, See See Baby, The Stumble and San-Ho-Zay were covered by the likes of Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Peter Green, Albert Collins and Chicken Shack.
The phrase "very best of" in an album title usually indicates a highly selective collection of an artist's career highlights.
On this Cd we are treated to some fabulous concert performance recorded in France in 1974 and 1975 by the late giant of a man,Freddy King who sadly was only 42 years of age at the time of his death.
Freddie King (also known as "Freddy" early in his career) was born in Gilmer, a rural town near Longview and east of Dallas, Texas. No relation to either B.B. or Albert King, Freddie was taught the guitar by his mother and an Uncle while he was still a child. Originally an acoustic, country blues-styled guitarist in the style of Lightnin' Hopkins and Blind Lemon Jefferson, King became enamored of the electrified Chicago blues sound of artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf as a teen.
Guitarist Freddie King rode to fame in the early '60s with a spate of catchy instrumentals which became instant bandstand fodder for fellow bluesmen and white rock bands alike. Employing a more down-home (thumb and finger picks) approach to the B.B. King single-string style of playing, King enjoyed success on a variety of different record labels. Furthermore, he was one of the first bluesmen to employ a racially integrated group on-stage behind him. Influenced by Eddie Taylor, Jimmy Rogers, and Robert Jr. Lockwood, King went on to influence the likes of Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Lonnie Mack, among many others.
Great stuff from this influential Texas Bluesman — the haunting "Lonesome Whistle Blues," "I'm Tore Down," and other classics. From the B.B. King school, but with his own searing style of singing and playing, it's a must for fans of modern blues.