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ALBERT KING

I'LL PLAY THE BLUES FOR YOU

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Stax (7233716)

This is one of the first blues albums I ever bought with my own money when still a mere slip of a lad. I found it in a second-hand market stall many years ago and it remains just about the best £2.50 I ever spent.

So its great to see it finally getting the ‘re-mastered with additional tracks' treatment after so many years. This 1972 recording is peak-period Albert, let off the leash and stretching out over extended versions of tracks that would later help define his legacy. What's more, the musical support is from The Bar-Kays And The Movement (rhythm section) and The Memphis Horns so it exudes class, power and even sophistication.

The title track is a particular favourite, with Albert's special brand of talk-singing, interspersed with lead guitar fills that a young Stevie Ray Vaughan obviously went to school on. There are also atmospheric renditions of Breaking Up Somebody's Home and Don't Burn Down The Bridge (Cause You Might Wanna Come Back) that he would record again but would never better. Albert picks up the pace a bit on a rockier High Cost Of Loving and along the way a gives a funky nod to James Brown (on I'll Be Doggone), the Black Power movement (on Little Brother) and even his own back catalogue (on Answer To The Laundromat Blues). The bonus tracks are enjoyable additions and alternate takes without really adding anything essential to the album.

It may just be my nostalgia, and you may disagree, but I don't think that Albert, and his Flying V guitar, was ever better than on this album - and at this price you'd be daft not to find out for yourself.

Review Date: June 2012

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