Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rolling Stone 500: (499) Born Under a Bad Sign by Albert King [1967]

Now this, this I can get behind. As I listened to Albert King play of course his amazing guitar playing stood out, but even more impressive, the backing band. Who could be that good. Well, freakin' Booker T. & the MGs that's who! Shoot, Issac Hayes plays piano on the record! The Memphis Horns! Steve Cropper! Alright, let me calm down for a second. Needless to say, though I still shall, I really dig that old Stax Records sound.

I, regrettably, had not heard an Albert King record before. But his influence can be heard in so much of the blues influenced classic rock I do listen to. Cream, and Eric Clapton in particular, really owe a lot to the man, especially this record. I knew their version of "Born Under a Bad Sign," but Albert King's backing band and his guitar playing outdo Cream's. The only grip I have, and it sort of is throughout the album, is his voice. At times it sounds really good (for instance, on "I Almost Lost My Mind," he has a really nice jazzy quality to his vocals). But sometimes I find his phrasing strange. But just slightly. Everything else is good enough to the point that I don't even think about it much.

And the guitar playing on "Down Don't Bother Me" and "Personal Manager" sounds an awful lot like Stevie Ray Vaghn. So I would gather that he was influenced by this record as well. The Rolling Stone list takes into account the influence the record had on music. "Born Under a Bad Sign" seems to have been instrumental in the growth of rock music.

Let's see. In this video he sings pretty good. The crowd is dressed horribly. But it was the 80's after all.


And a short interview comes with this one (at 6:40 it gets really good):


  • Best songs: Born Under a Bad Sign, As the Years Go Passing By, The Hunter
  • Filler song: none (The Very Thought of You is a bit sappy though)
  • Verdict: 4.5 stars out of 5
  • Next album: "Tres Hombres" by ZZ Top (Rate Your Music predicts I will give it a 4.1 rating. Hm, we'll see about that...)

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