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Albert King

Birthplace: Born Albert Nelson
Indianola, Mississippi
Birthdate: April 25, 1923
Died: Memphis Tennessee, December 21, 1992

Albert King was born in Indianola, Mississippi in 1923. Growing up he sang in a family gospel group and was inspired by Blind Lemon Jefferson. He played with the "In the Groove Boys" in Osceola, Arkansas before moving north to Gary, Indiana where he played behind Jimmy Reed. In the early fifties he started recording on his own and from then until he passed on in 1992 he had one of the hottest blues acts going.

Albert King moved to Memphis in the sixties where he signed with Stax in 1966. At Stax he recorded with the Booker T and the MGs band putting a soul sound behind the blues and starting a trend which remains strong in the blues today. He died in Memphis in 1992 where he had been honored on Beale Street. He was the "Bad Boy of the Blues", "The Godfather", one of "The Three Kings", and an inventor of the rock guitar sound that still dominates popular music today. He will be remembered forever.

I got to see him in the sixties in Chicago and at his last Festival appearance in Helena, Arkansas and his live appearances were always electrifying. I featured his live performances at The Fillmore East in San Francisco and at the Montreaux Jazz Festival on Something Blue in May of 1999. He has been a personal inspiration to me and millions of other musicians and over the years he helped hundreds of musicians with their music including Arkansan Larry Davis, Osceola, Arkansas native Son Seals, Texas Bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jonesboro's own Danny Jones. He was not greedy, he always shared the stage with some of the hottest guitarists you ever heard, letting them play extended solos while he smoked his pipe. But when the solos came back around to Albert King he always took it to the next level and gave the audience a great show.

Thanks to Leon McEntire and "The Big Book of The Blues" for help and information used on the Something Blue show and this page.

by Larry Heyl

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