Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Freddie King - Texas Cannonball (1972)

Note: the CD I listened to was the 1991 DCC reissue with 7 bonus tracks.

Today's CD was requested by my high school buddy Jim, who gave me my copy of this disc. When he mentioned it, my immediate thought was that this album was bluesy but not quite the blues.  I stand by that.

I guess music on this album could be described as electric Texas blues with a prominent rock/soul/Chicago blues influence.  If you like Live at Fillmore East, you'll dig this.  King, who died in 1976, was known for his incendiary live shows and a unique "steel on steel" sound - King normally played metal strings with a metal banjo pick.  No less than Eric Clapton (among other '60s British blues revivalists) cites Freddie King as a major influence. By this time in his career, he had left straight ahead blues in favor of a more commercial blues along the lines of Clapton, Jeff Beck, and the Allmans, often opening for those guys and playing with their backing musicians (this album features Leon Russell and Duck Dunn, for example). 

Rolling Stone magazine and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are linked in many ways, mostly for the wrong reasons, but they both understand King: Rolling Stone placed King 15th on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, and he was inducted to the Rock Hall earlier this year.  All praise of King seems focused on his amazing guitar playing, but to my mind, that really shortchanges his fantastic blues voice.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks:  More hits than misses. I like Reconsider Baby, Big Legged Woman, Me And My Guitar, and I'd Rather Be Blind. The synth strings on Can't Trust Your Neighbor ruin an otherwise good ballad and the lead-off CCR cover of Lodi should be avoided.  Come to think of it, most CCR should be avoided.  The cover of Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine falls flat, too.

Bonus tracks: a mixed bag, but worth a listen for an awesome acoustic version of That's All Right and the instrumental Pulpwood, a 7 minute jam that really lets King stretch out and work with different sounds.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  Jim and I both went through a blues and world music phase about 10 years ago.  I can't speak for Jim, but my world music phase ended fairly quickly, but I'll still listen to the blues often albeit in short doses.

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