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From the Vault: Albert King’s “Blues Power”

Editor’s Note: The Daily Music Break periodically re-posts great music that has been on the site before. This post originally appeared on April 30, 2012. 

Albert King was not related to B.B. or, for that matter to Freddie, another great blues guitarist who would be King. They all were deeply connected, however. B.B. commented on Albert in his autobiography, Blues All Around Me:

He had his own sound that, far as I can see, had more influence on guys like Jimi Hendrix than I did. Sometimes I’d hear little pieces of myself in bluesmen like Buddy Guy, who I also love, but I think the heavy rockers looked to Albert as the main model.

His best known song is Born Under a Bad Sign (done here with Stevie Ray Vaughan). Other pieces that show King’s skills are I’ll Play the Blues for YouStormy Monday (here with John Mayall) and Oh Pretty Woman.

The left-handed King played a Flying V upside down, sometimes while smoking a pipe. Here is a very good bio and discography.

(Home page: Grant Gouldon)

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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