The legendary Albert King's first Stax release was the groundbreaking, earth shaking Born Under a Bad Sign, a collection of singles named for the song keyboardist Booker T. Jones and singer William Bell wrote with Big Albert in mind.
Stax sent the new King of the Blues in the studio in 1969 to record this, his first official studio album. "Wrapped Up In Love Again" sets the album off. An even better, tighter version of the song was released as a single. This type of Soul/Blues with its rockin' tempo is something nobody has ever done better than Albert King. On the other side of the coin is the album's closer "The Sky Is Cryin'". Stevie Ray Vaughn's version of the Elmore James staple is pure Albert, but of course Vaughn never had Producer Al Jackson, Jr. as a drummer - Wow!
Nobody's ever come close to Jackson's snare sound, right up front on the great "Heart Fixin' Business". Jackson and his fellow MGs display their unmatched interplay throughout, particularly on Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" and on the delightful "Cockroach", a song that finds King's woman forcing him to sleep on the floor while a big ole cockroach is lookin' up at him. It features one of the most superb bass lines you'll ever here courtesy of King's fellow pipe smoker Donald "Duck" Dunn and brilliant work by Jackson. The great slow Blues of "Drowning On Dry Land" is yet another Albert King masterpiece. This is followed by an instrumental version that is just awesome. It's like a really hot MGs instrumental, complete with great rhythm guitar playing from Steve Cropper, with the added greatness of King's string bending leads. Al Jackson arranged this, and it is perfect. The Memphis Horns, Booker T. Jones's piano, King, Cropper, Dunn, and jaw dropping drumming by Jackson. Incredible!
Try and get the U.K.'s Ace Records release of Years Gone By - Plus. This will give you such great finds as a never released version of Ray Charles's "I Believe to My Soul" and a beautifully done alternate version of "As the Years Go Passing By", where Jones's B-3 organ leads the way as opposed to the horns and Jones's piano on the original classic.
This album should never be lost in the shuffle amongst more seminal King works such as, naturally, Born Under a Bad Sign. It is a great production from the greatest Blues guitarist and greatest band of all time.