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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 10 June 2012
I'd imagine a lot of people share my experience - I bought Born Under a Bad Sign and then spent a lot more money chasing another AK album that was even half as good. I thought I'd found it with The Lost Session, but that hasn't stood the test of time.

But this is really terrific. Albert has another great band behind him, just like with Booker T, and possibly the best guitar tone he ever had. This just absolutely floats into your soul. And the extra tracks are better than some of the stuff on the original album. For once he gets the right blend of funk, soul, and blues.

I have about 10 AK CDs now, and this is one of the very best.
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on 18 July 2014
Another Big Al Stax classic beautifully remastered. Blues as smooth as velvet slightly reminiscent of BB Kings polished "There is always one more time".One thing you can always rely on with an Albert King cd is wonderful driving funky base lines and this cd is full of them. The whole cd is beautifully put together. Its blues but with all musicians bang on the nail. Blues for the upmarket lounges rather than the bars on the chittlin circuit. After all Big Al has paid his dues.

This cd includes four of my all time King favourites the smooth slinky "I'll play the blues for you", the deeply menacing "Breaking up somebody's home" , the hard driving "High cost of loving" and the funky "Dont burn down the bridge". And two of those reappear as bonus alternate takes. What's not to like!!
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I'm loving these "Stax Remasters" CD Reissues even if they do seem to be a bit slow coming out (see list below). And any Albert King album from the period is nectar to my weary palate - so let's get with the details...

Released Monday 4 June 2012 in the UK (22 May 2012 in the USA) - Concord Music Group, Inc 0888072337169 (Barcode 888072337169) is release number seven in the 2011/2012 "STAX REMASTERS" CD Series and breaks down as follows (60:59 minutes):

1. I'll Play The Blues For You (Part 1 & 2)
2. Little Brother Make A Way
3. Breaking up Somebody's Home
4. High Cost Of Living
5. I'll Be Doggone [Side 2]
6. Answer To The Laundromat Blues
7. Don't Burn Down The Bridge ('Cause You Might Wanna Come Back Across)
8. Angel Of Mercy
Tracks 1 to 8 are the album "I'll Play The Blues For You" - released October 1972 in the USA on Stax Records STS-3009 and January 1973 in the UK on Stax Records 2325 089

Track 9 is "I'll Play The Blues For You (Alternate Version)" (8:44 minutes)
Track 10 is "Don't Burn Down The Bridge ('Cause You Might Wanna Come Back Across) (Alternate Version)" (5:13 minutes)
Track 11 is "I Need A Love" (4:29 minutes) [Album Outtake]
Track 12 is "Albert's Stomp" (2:18 minutes) [Album Outtake - Instrumental]

The new 12-page booklet has very knowledgeable and affectionate liner notes by BILL DAHL who did the exceptional liner notes on Bear Family's 1961-1970 "Sweet Soul Music" CDs (10 volumes) and their 1945-1960 "Blowing The Fuse" series on R'n'B music (16 volumes). I've reviewed nearly all of them. You also get the original artwork on the front and rear of the booklet, musician and session details and the LP's original liner notes etc. But once again the big news is the NEWLY REMASTERED SOUND...

I've reviewed all the other titles in the "Stax Remasters" series (see list below) and duly raved about the fabulous sound quality on them - especially after years of lacklustre reissues in jewel cases and repro digipaks. Well this is the same. 24-bit remastered from the first generation tapes at JOE TARANTINO Mastering in Berkeley, California - the audio quality is superbly warm - especially the drum and bass (so sweet). The groove of the keyboards and punchy brass fills are both lovely - full - yet not too forced. My only compliant here would be that the vocals are ever so slightly subdued on some tracks (the title song) - buried in the back of the mix - but the overall quality of the album and the shockingly good bonus material quickly nips that minor quibble in the bud.

Style-wise this is not so much straight-up Blues - but Soul meets Funk with some Blues guitar licks over the top of the band (a genre I can't get enough of). We open for business with one of Albert's signature songs "I'll Play The Blues For You" (written originally by Shreveport guitarist Jerry Beach for Texas Soul singer Geater Davis). It's 7:19 minutes Part 1 and 2 was cut down to a 3:20 minute 'Part 1 Edit' and issued in advance of the album as a 7" single in June 1972 on Stax STS-0135 with The Bar Kays And The Movement credited as the backing band. The slinky sound quality hits you immediately as do the ever-so-slightly cheesy talking lyrics (title above). On that subject - one of the gems on here is Track 9 - a previously unreleased version of "I'll Play The Blues For You" that runs to an extended 8:44 minutes. It removes the talking and replaces it with a great Sax solo and then a lengthy guitar jam to the end. It's brilliantly recorded and a genuine blast for King fans. How has this remained in the vaults for 40 years! I played it in the shop the other day and it had customers asking at the counter after it...

"Breaking Up Somebody's Home" was a hit for Ann Peebles in February 1972 on Hi Records (written by Al Jackson (drummer with Booker T & The MG's) and Timothy Matthews). King's version is a fabulous 7:19 minute slink-fest sounding not unlike something off "Be Altitude" by The Staple Singers (again from 1972). It was issued as an edited 7" single in October 1972 along with the LP and it's a shame that cut isn't included on here as a bonus. "High Cost Of Loving" is excellent uptempo Blues/Soul too. The only real clinker for me is the opener of Side 2 - his cover of Marvin Gaye's old Motown hit "I'll Be Doggone" where live crowd voices are added to the mix. It probably sounded cool then - but it's terribly dated now. Things perk up considerably with the hilariously un-PC lyrics of "Answer To The Laundromat Blues" (great guitarwork and a sleazy backing rhythm) which are thankfully sung tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps you don't want to sing "We gonna buy you washer and dryers and put you in the basement..." to the ladies in your life any day soon! The album ends is real style though with a great double-whammy - the slow funky guitar-groove of "Don't Burn Down The Bridge..." and the money-worries of "Angel Of Mercy" where Albert pleads with real feeling "...Would you please look down on me...a little mercy is all I need."

As if the album wasn't good enough - the excellence of the 4 extras are a shock. The first two are blistering 'Alternate Versions' of album tracks while the last two are LP outakes (all in fantastic sound quality). I've discussed "I'll Play The Blues For You" above - the 'Alternate' of "Don't Burn Down The House..." is a more attacking guitar version with a huge sound. Great stuff. You can hear why "I Need A Love" was left off the record - it's good - but it sounds too much like other better tracks. The only real letdown is that the fantastically funky "Albert's Stomp" is criminally cut short at 2:18 minutes - just when you were getting into it (sounds like Ike Turner meets Booker T meets Albert King). All in all - very impressive...

So there you have it - a cracking Blues/Funk album bolstered up with four tracks actually worthy of the description 'bonus' - and all of it topped off with great sound and a value-for-money price tag.Very tasty indeed...and highly recommended.

PS: titles in the "STAX REMASTERS" series are (all reviewed):
1. Green Onions - BOOKER T. & THE M.G.'S (1962)
2. McLemore Avenue - BOOKER T. & THE M.G.'S (1970)
3. Woman To Woman - SHIRLEY BROWN (1975)
4. Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get - THE DRAMATICS (1972)
5. Born Under A Bad Sign - ALBERT KING (1967)
6. I'll Play The Blues For You - ALBERT KING (1972)
7. Be Altitude: Respect Yourself - THE STAPLE SINGERS (1972)
8. Taylored In Silk - JOHNNIE TAYLOR (1973)
9. Do The Funky Chicken - RUFUS THOMAS (1970)

PPS: Lovers of ATLANTIC, STAX and VOLT Records should note that as of October 2012 there is a massive reissue program of classic albums going on in Japan - 100+ titles to be exact (which includes Albert King). They feature Fifties Blues and R'n'B, Sixties and Seventies Soul, Funk & Fusion. All are budget price (£7.50 per disc) and feature 2012 DSD remastering. Many of these titles are familiar - but a huge number are new to CD. For a full detailed list of these Japanese reissues - see the 'comment' section attached to this review...
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Albert King - along with Freddy and BB King one of the 'three Kings of the Blues' - is one of my all-time favourite Blues Guitar heroes. This album, originally recorded in Memphis in 1972 - is one of his finest. The title track - featured here in both its original form, and as an earlier alternate take bonus track, is one of the coolest, funkiest items King ever cut. Sure, it's not as in-yer-face as his epochal 'Born Under A Bad Sign' album of the mid-1960s, but it shows that King's was a talent that could mould itself to changing times. The whole album exhibits more of a Southern Soul feel, with some great brass arrangements, as well as some splendid rhythm section work. If you've turned on to King through his earlier work, or the fine album cut with Stevie Ray Vaughan, I urge you to dig deeper into his catalogue. This is a good place to start, but if you're looking for really heavy Blues, it probably won't fit the bill. However, if you like the grooves a little more laid-back, more funky, then invest away. Soulful stuff.
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on 8 June 2015
I had to get it for the improved sound quality. It is, in my opinion, the best album by Albert due the strong 'Stax-sound' with the horn section etc. You get a wider choice on his greatest hits album ( or whatever it's called ) but this album is a must-have classic like Etta James' ' Muscle shoals sessions' and other pieces of inspired magic from the Southern States of Georgia, Alabama, etc. It must have something to do with the water.

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on 5 January 2013
I already knew of this album but wanted it on my iPod player. If you don't know Albert's music this is a good place to start.
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on 13 October 2015
This CD has no right to sound this good! The remastering is superb - the rhythm section beats you in the chest while AK's guitar tone stings your ears. After "Born Under A Bad Sign" with all the classic blues tracks, this is a great second buy - my favourite track is "Little Brother" purely for the sublime bassline. Buy it now!
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on 12 January 2016
Great CD and excellent price. Came wrapped, as new. My father was delighted with it (Christmas present).
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on 11 December 2016
Great tracks to play along to.
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on 28 January 2016
THE KING !!!!!
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