on 28 February 2013
A 4 star collection, on the basis that I would give Albert's "Born Under A Bad Sign" album 5 stars, and all of his releases can't be rated 5. This is a collection of 4 albums - "Truckload of Lovin'", "Albert", "King Albert" & "New Orleans Heat" - recorded for the Tomato label after his stint at Stax records. (Without entering into the debate about CD remastering), to my taste the sound of the collection is fine, clean without being bright, and the music carries a lot of punch. Reading individual reviews elsewhere of some of these albums, there was some mention that these releases may be a little 'commercial', and that there is not enough of Albert's signature guitar soloing. The albums may be 'commercial' in the same way that BB King's "Completely Well" crossover album can be regarded as 'commercial' as he crossed to a wider market. However, to my ears, "The Heat Of The Blues" is soulful, even funky urban blues, with a little gloss added on some tracks by strings, and backing vocalists on most tracks. As for Albert's guitar, there is enough of that to keep any fan of great guitar happy. There may be some extra focus on Albert's vocals, and on tight arrangements, and while that may provide less room for his guitar playing, he sure makes use of the room he gets. I have an extensive CD collection, but I can see this new purchase keeping a lot of other disks off the player for a while to come.