R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

VOICES Notes and news on R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax releases

King's Super Blues

11 JAN 11 CHRIS SLAWECKI

For several reasons, Albert King's killer contemporary blues set I'll Play The Blues For You is classic Stax and classic blues. Sonically recast in a new SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) version, these reasons sound even better.

One reason is that King was at the height of his guitar and vocal prowess in 1972, and ripped through this set of rhythmic blues. His guitar seethes to close "Breaking Up Somebody's Home" and the stellar audio makes the anguish in his closing groan to an "Angel Of Mercy" howl. He sings and plays with rare blues power on the unfortunately phrased "Answer To The Laundromat Blues," and "I'll Play The Blues for You, Parts 1 & 2" extends to include an additional solo from King's guitar and groovy backup electric piano, too.

That piano is just one example of the primary blessing of this SACD version. I'll Play The Blues For You stands as an "ultimate" Stax record because it features members of the Isaac Hayes Movement, The Memphis Horns, and The Bar-Kays (the second generation Stax house band), all label linchpins, as King's backup band. You can hear how tightly wound up they got behind King's smoking machine gun blues, how the horns breathe in and out of "I'll Be Doggone," and the rhythm section brings the breakdown funk to "Somebody's Home" and "Don't Burn Down the Bridge."

Other blues in Concord's SACD catalog include Wynton Kelly's Kelly Blue and Things Are Getting Better, Cannonball Adderley's set with Milt Jackson.