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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
King Of The Blues Guitar
Format: MP3 Download|Change

on 5 April 2002
I honestly cannot believe that possible sexist lyrics on a blues album is a cause for concern. In any case, most of the time it's poor Albert getting the blues from mean, mistreatin' women. (In Laundromat Blues his woman is meeting her lover at the local laundromat - women eh?)
From top to bottom this album is a delight - there isn't a single slack moment on this record. Albert's singing (especially on "The Very Thought of You") is as sweet as a choir of angels, his guitar as dirty and funky as Hell itself. Add in Booker T and the MGs (just listen to Al Jackson Jr an "Cold Feet" - stunning)and you have one of the greatest blues compilations in existence.
Charles Shaar Murray in his book "Blues on CD" said that if he were rating CDs on a five star basis then this album would get a six. It is truly indispensable for anyone with even a passing interest in the blues.
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on 27 April 2017
Albert really was a giant of the electric blues guitar, his influence can be heard in the styles of many modern guitar players.This CD contains some of his best known music and offers a great introduction to his work.
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on 18 November 2011
There's not much that needs to be said about Albert King's place in the history of electric guitar and blues. This album contains a lot of the material that made his name. Good songs, inventive arrangements and of course his guitar playing all go to make a classic album. The sound quality is clear and Alberts guitar is high in the mix, the meters must have hit red! They just don't make music like this anymore. Recommended.
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on 5 April 2008
Just wanted to highlight to unsuspecting buyers that this album contains EVERY single track off the classic 'Born under a bad sign' album. Great value then, but don't do what i did and use this album as a starting reference point, and then upon further reading hastily decide you need to own the aforementioned classic Albert King album (all too easy in these 1-click days!), without cross-referencing the level of track duplication! Duh. I feel the Amazon review might have usefully drawn attention to this fact to forewarn numpties such as me.

Otherwise, faultless in my opinion. I have not heard the original vinyl recordings so can't comment on merits (or otherwise) of the remastering, but sounds par for the course to me.
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on 17 March 2007
I'm listening to this CD as I write this review, having recently received it through the post. I had decided that Albert King was under-represented in my CD collection and did some research into what my next purchase of his music should be. Having read all the reviews below, and after listening to the available samples, I made the decision that this CD was The One!

Well well well!! What can I say? Ecstasy by ear!

I have quite a good selection of blues CDs, with favourite artists including Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, BB King, Howlin Wolf, Robert Johnson, Johnny Guitar Watson, Lightnin Hopkins, Leadbelly, Freddie King, Son House, Elmore James, Rev Gary Davis, Mississippi Fred McDowell, T Model Ford, RL Burnside etc (and even one or two white guys!). Indeed I've been listening to the blues for 17 years or so, and reckon that I've got as good an ear for the blues as any (or many). I suppose that what I'm trying to get across is the notion that, after many years of digging great blues, and being familiar with a large number of blues CDs, I'm in a reasonable position to make informed comparisons and offer an opinion.

And, in my opinion, 'Albert King: King of the Blues Guitar' is without question one of the best compilations that you are likely to come across.

That's not to say, necessarily, that I love Albert's music any more (or any less) than that of any of the artists above. In the best blues tradition, Albert's contribution to the genre is unique, an entirely personal body of work. But rather, that this CD, from start to finish, is almost uniquely good in its consistently very high-standard track selection.

Consequently, its difficult to pick tracks out as particular stars, although my initial listenings might highlight 'Oh, Pretty Woman', 'Crosscut Saw', 'Born Under A Bad Sign' and 'Cold Feet'. But every single other track is also delightful, and in no way mere filling between the good 'uns.

For anyone unfamiliar with Albert King, suffice it to say that he is a guitar great, whose 'sound' is a distinctive combination of spiky-but-sweet-and-mellow-at-the-same-time, backed up by a very good voice that's rich, mellow and soulful. And, like all the very best blues masters, he possesses an exquisite 'touch'.

The only things one might consider as standing between this CD and perfection are: as mentioned elsewhere, the mastering, which, on the odd track (eg the beautiful 'Kansas City'), drowns Albert's guitar in the accompaniment or pushes it into the background, and; the quality of the recording, which is not nearly as good as it could or should be (including the odd 'click' or two), but is not an insurmountable problem for those who would rather hear this record than NOT hear it.

I'm inclined to the view that a remastering and a clean-up would be a good thing, and that Atlantic Records should realise that this material is easily important enough to merit some serious attention from the techies (and that the dreadful album cover DESPERATELY needs a total makeover - ideally by whoever did the artwork for 'Jimi Hendrix: blues' or 'The Rainbow Bridge Concert'). However, you could argue that the current mastering simply has the effect of shifting the flavour of this CD a little, away from the 'searing' end of the spectrum towards the 'mellow' end (not necessarily a bad thing). And that the somewhat woolly recording lends an aura of 'heritage' and a patina of 'authenticity' - woolly sound quality is hardly a rarity in blues recordings!

Either way, this is a truly delightful album, rich with beautiful funky soulful blues and is a great testament to a great artist. Thankyou Albert, and to you and your mates, Booker T.
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on 31 January 2009
This albums worse quality is the sound it can be piercing in the treble regions but you will enjoy the music King shows us how to play the blues with style and soul.Its a lot of music, for very little money recommended.
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on 4 May 2014
I was nearly put off buying this album by the negativity concerning the sound quality but thank goodness I wasn't because it is an absolute delight of a blues recording.I have many old blues cds and take the sound to be original and authentic which I happen to like and without any clean ups ! This is classic blues of its generation and Albert King is one of the great masters plus of course it has the added attraction/bonus of those fine musicians in Booker T and the MG's playing along side Albert and not forgetting those cool sounding Memphis Horns.I remember the group Free did an excellent version of Booker T's ' The Hunter ' on their Free Live album which is worth a listen.Highly recommended and the sound and production imho is just fine.
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on 9 October 2003
This is an excellent overview of Albert King’s beginning days with Stax Records and house band Booker T. & the MGs, along with The Memphis Horns. What this offers is the entire landmark Born Under a Bad Sign album which is considered by many to be the definitive urban Blues album. Atlantic packaged that album with some bonus material that is just as great.

King was without a doubt the most prolific Blues guitarist of his generation, and his sound spawned more imitators than even B.B. King. The remastered Rhino CD The Very Best of Albert King is the place to go to get the full effect of Albert's Blues power. His guitar doesn't stand out here near as much, but this is really a showcase for not only King's soulful string bending, but for the MGs' superior ensemble playing. It took the greatest Soul band in the world to be the most perfect band any Blues singer could ask for. Multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones will dazzle the listener with the most impressive technically and stylistically Blues piano work I've ever heard. And with King's producer and drummer Al Jackson, Jr. leading the way, these are some of the greatest records ever made - whatever the genre'.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 July 2008
This CD is essentially Albert's mid-60s record "Born under a bad sign" - one of the classic electric blues records - with the addition of the Stax singles "I love Lucy" "Funk shun" and "Cold feet" and a couple of others. All his classics are here that were recorded by many others in the second blues boom - "Pretty woman", "The hunter", "Crosscut saw" and of course the song "Born under a bad sign" itself. At the time in the 60s many of my friends were into soul and didn't like blues but they liked this record, which is blues you can dance to.

Albert was probably the most limited of the Kings (B.B. and Freddie) both as a guitarist and a singer but what he does he does wonderfully well - a powerful, relaxed voice and a screaming, sinuous guitar weaving in and out of the melody. All this over the funky soul strut of the Stax rhythm section and the Memphis horns. Six stars at least!!!
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on 9 August 2010
I agree with many of the other reviewers - you can't beat this king for music. Except when the sound quality is this bad. The Guitar is great if a little flat but it really falls down on vocals. Sometimes they so like they were recorded underwater. It's a pity.
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