Albert King



Albert King (born Albert Nelson). April 25th, 1923 - December 21st, 1992. Birthplace: Indianola, Mississippi.

Bluesman Albert King was one of the premier electric guitar stylists of the post-World War II period. By playing left-handed and holding his guitar upside-down (with the strings set for a right-handed player), and by concentrating on tone and intensity more than flash, King fashioned over his long career, a sound that was both distinctive and highly influential. He was a master of the single-string solo and could bend strings to produce a particularly tormented blues sound that set his style apart from his contemporaries. A number of prominent artists,from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix to Mike Bloomfield and Stevie Ray Vaughan, borrowed heavily from King's guitar style.

King was also the first major blues guitarist to cross over into modem soul;his mid- and late 1960s recordings for the Stax label, cut with the same great session musicians who played on the recordings of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave,Eddie Floyd, and others, appealed to his established black audience while broadening his appeal with rock fans. Along with B.B. King (no relation, though at times Albert suggested otherwise) and Muddy Waters, King helped nurture a white interest in blues when the music needed it most to survive.

King was born in Mississippi and taught himself how to play on a homemade guitar. Inspired by Blind Lemon Jefferson, King quit singing in a family gospel group and took up the blues. He worked around Osceola, Arkansas, with a group called the In the Groove Boys before migrating north and ending up in Gary,Indiana, in the early 1950s. For a while, King played drums behind bluesman Jimmy Reed. In 1953, King convinced Parrot label owner Al Benson to record him as a blues singer and guitarist. That year King cut "Bad Luck Blues" and "Be On Your Merry Way" for Parrot. Because King received little in the way of financial remuneration for the record, he left Parrot and eventually moved to St. Louis, where he recorded for the Bobbin and the King labels. In 1959 he had a minor hit on Bobbin with "I'm a Lonely Man." King's biggest release, "Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong," made it to number 14 on the R&B charts in 1961.

King didn't become a major blues figure until after he signed with Stax Records in 1966. Working with producer-drummer Al Jackson, Jr., guitarist Steve Cropper, keyboards ace Booker T. Jones, and bass player Donald "Duck"Dunn-aka Booker T. and the MG's, King created a blues sound that was laced with Memphis soul strains. Although the blues were dominant on songs such as"Laundromat Blues" and the classic "Born Under A Bad Sign", the tunes had Memphis soul underpinnings that gave King his crossover appeal. Not only was he the first blues artist to play the legendary San Francisco rock venue the Fillmore West, but he was also on the debut bill, sharing the stage opening night in1968 with Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall. King went on to become a regular at the Fillmore; his album Live Wire/Blues Power was recorded there in 1968.King was also one of the first bluesman to record with a symphony orchestra: in1969 he performed with the St. Louis Symphony, triumphantly bringing together the blues and classical music, if only for a fleeting moment.

During the 1970s King toured extensively, often playing to rock and soul crowds. He left Stax in 1974 to record for independent labels like Tomato and Fantasy. King was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1983.He continued touring throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, playing festivals and concerts, often with B.B. King.

He died of a heart attack in 1992, just prior to starting a major European tour.

A great site about Albert King with a lot of links at

A Yahoo discussion group has been set up by my friend Tim Whitsett. To subscribe, send a blank email to



Stax 190 : Laundromat Blues / Overall Junction
Stax 197 : Oh, Pretty Woman / Funk Shun
Stax 201 : Crosscut Saw / Down Don't Bother Me
Stax 217 : Born Under A Bad Sign / Personal Manager
Stax 241 : Cold Feet / You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain
Stax 252 : (I Love) Lucy / You're Gonna Need Me
Stax 0020 : Blues Power / Night Stomp
Stax 0034 : Drowning On Dry Land Pt. I / Pt. II
Stax 0047 : Tupelo Pt. I / Tupelo Pt. II
Stax 0048 : Water / Opus De Soul (with Pop Staples & Steve Cropper)
Stax 0058 : Cockroach / Wrapped Up In Love Again
Stax 0069 : Can't See What You're Doing To Me / Cold Sweat
Stax 0101 : Everybody Want To Go To Heaven / Lovejoy, Ill.
Stax 0121 : Angel Of Mercy / Funky London
Stax 0135 : I'll Play The Blues For You Pt. I / Pt. II
Stax 0147 : Breakin' Up Somebody's Home / Little Brother
Stax 0166 : Playing On Me / High Cost Of Loving
Stax 0189 : That's What The Blues Is All About / I Wanna Get Funky
Stax 0217 : Flat Tire / I Can't Hear Nothing But The Blues
Stax 0228 : Crosscut Saw / Don't Burn Down The Bridge
Stax 0234 : Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin' / Don't Burn Down The Bridge
Stax 0245 : I'm Doing Fine / Ain't It Beautiful

Stax 3203 : The Pinch Paid Off Pt. I / Pt. II
Stax 3225 : Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin' / Don't Burn Down The Bridge


BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN - Stax 723 : Born Under A Bad Sign ; Crosscut Saw ; Kansas City ; Oh, Pretty Woman ; Down Don't Bother Me ; The Hunter ; I Almost Lost My Mind ; Personal Manager ; Laundromat Blues ; As The Years Go Passing By ; The Very Thought Of You.  (reissued on CD with bonus tracks: Born Under a Bad Sign (alternate track) / Crosscut Saw (alternate) / The Hunter (alternate) / Personal Manager (alternate) / Untitled Instrumental.

LIVE WIRE BLUES POWER - Stax 2003 : Watermelon Man/Blues Power/Night Stomp//Blues At Sunrise/Please Love Me/Look Out.  (reissued on CD)

SOUL EXPLOSION - Stax 2-2007 (part) : Cold Feet/Left Hand Woman (Get Right With Me).  (reissued on CD)

YEARS GONE BY - Stax 2010 : Wrapped Up In Love Again/You Don't Love Me (Instrumental)/Cockroach/Killing Floor/Lonely Man/If The Washing Don't Get You The Rinsing Will//Drowning On Dry Land/Drowning On Dry Land (Instrumental)/Heart Fixing Business/You Threw Your Love On Me Too Strong/Sky Is Crying.  (reissued on CD)

KING DOES THE KING'S THING - Stax 2015 : Hound Dog/That's All Right/All Shook Up/Jailhouse Rock/Heartbreak Hotel//Don't Be Cruel/One Night/Blue Suede Shoes/Love Me Tender.  (reissued on CD)

JAMMED TOGETHER - Stax 2020 (with Pops Staples & Steve Cropper) : What'd I Say/Tupelo/Opus De Soul/Baby What You Want Me To Do//Big Bird/Homer's Theme/Trashy Dog/Don't Turn Your Heater Down/Water/Knock On Wood.  (reissued on CD)

LOVEJOY - Stax 2040 : Honky Tonk Woman/Bay Area Blues/Corrina Corrina/She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride/For The Love Of A Woman//Lovejoy, Ill./Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven/Going Back To Luka/Like A Road Leading Home.  (reissued on CD)

I'LL PLAY THE BLUES FOR YOU - Stax 3009 : I'll Play The Blues For You, Parts 1 & 2/Little Brother/Breaking Up Somebody's Home/High Cost Of Loving//I'll Be Doggone/Answer To The Laundromat Blues/Don't Burn Down The Bridge (Cause You Might Wanna Come Back)/Angel Of Mercy.  (reissued on CD)

WATTSTAX - THE LIVING WORLD - Stax 2-3010 (part) : Killing Floor/I'll Play The Blues For You)/Angel Of Mercy.  (reissued on CD)

I WANNA GET FUNKY - Stax 5505 : I Wanna Get Funky/Playing On Me/Walking The Back Streets And Crying/'Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone//Flat Tire/I Can't Hear Nothing But The Blues/Travelin' Man/Cross Cut Saw/That's What The Blues Is All About.  (reissued on CD)

Blues at Sunrise - Fantasy/Stax SCD-8546-2 : Don't Burn Down the Bridge ('Cause You Might Wanna Come Back Across), I Believe To My Soul, For The Love Of A Woman, Blues At Sunrise, I'll Play The Blues For You, Little Brother (Make a Way), Roadhouse Blues.  (reissued on CD)

Wednesday Night in San Francisco (Live at the Fillmore) - Fantasy/Stax SCD-8556-2 :
Watermelon Man, Why You So Mean To Me, I Get Evil, Got To Be Some Changes Made, Personal Manager, Born Under A Bad Sign, Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong.  (reissued on CD)

Thursday Night in San Francisco (Live at the Fillmore) - Fantasy/Stax SCD-8557-2 :
San-ho-zay; You Upset Me, Baby; Call It Stormy Monday, Everyday I Have The Blues, Drifting Blues, I've Made Nights By Myself, Crosscut Saw, I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town, Ooh-ee Baby.  (reissued on CD)

I'm in a Phone Booth, Baby - Fantasy/Stax SCD-8560-2 :
Phone Booth, Dust My Broom, The Sky Is Crying; Brother, Go Ahead and Take Her; Your Bread Ain't Done, Firing Line, The Game Goes On, Truck Load of Lovin', You Gotta Sacrifice.  (reissued on CD)

The PINCH / Blues Don't Change - Fantasy/Stax SCD-8570-2 :
The Blues Don't Change, I'm Doing Fine, Nice To Be Nice (Ain't That Nice); Oh, Pretty Woman; King of Kings, Feel The Need; Firing Line (I Don't Play With Your Woman, You Don't Play With Mine); The Pinch Paid Off (Parts 1 & 2), I Can't Stand The Rain, Ain't It Beautiful.  (reissued on CD)

Crosscut Saw: Albert King in San Francisco - Fantasy/Stax SCD-8571-2 : Honey Bee, Ask Me No Questions, I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town, They Made The Queen Welcome, Floodin' In California, I Found Love In The Food Stamp Line, Match Box Blues, plus CD bonus tracks Crosscut Saw, Why You So Mean To Me?  (reissued on CD)

Blues at Sunset (Live at Wattstax and Montreux) - Fantasy/Stax SCD-8581-2 :
WATTSTAX: Match Box Blues, Got To Be Some Changes Made, I'll Play The Blues For You, Killing Floor, Angel Of Mercy. MONTREUX: Match Box Blues, Watermelon Man, Breaking Up Somebody's Home, Call It Stormy Monday.

Funky London - Fantasy/Stax SCD-8586-2 :
Cold Sweat, Can't You See What You're Doing To Me, Funky London, Lonesome, Bad Luck, Sweet Fingers, Finger On The Trigger, Drivin' Wheel, Lovingest Woman In Town.  (reissued on CD)

Hard Bargain - Stax SCD-8594-2 :
Overall Junction, Funk-Shun, You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain, You're Gonna Need Me, As The Years Go Passing By (alternate), Drownin' On Dry Land (alternate), Heart Fixing Business (alternate), The Sky Is Crying (alternate), I Get Evil, Shake 'Em Down, I Believe To My Soul, Got To Be Some Changes Made, Albert's Groove #2.  (reissued on CD)

MONTREUX FESTIVAL - Stax 5520 (with Chico Hamilton & Little Milton) : Don’t Make No Sense/Call It Stormy Monday/For The Love Of A Woman.  (reissued on CD)

YEARS GONE BY PLUS (Ace 045) : Wrapped Up In Love Again ; Shimmy Shimmy Walk ; Cockrotasyach ; Killing Floor ; Lonely Man ; If The Washing Don't Get You, The Rinsing Will ; (I Think I'm) Drowning On Dry Land ; (I Think I'm) Drowning On Dry Land (instrumental) ; Heart Fixing Business ; You Threw Your Love On Me Too Strong ; The Sky Is Crying ; Can't You See What You're Doing To Me ; Cold Sweat ; As The Years Go Passing By (alt.) ; (I Think I'm) Drowning On Dry Land (alt.) ; Don't You Lie To Me ; Shake 'Em Down ; I Believe To My Soul ; Heart Fixing Business (alt.) ; The Sky Is Crying (alt.) ; You're Treating Me Mean.  (reissued on CD)

ACE VARIOUS - Ace 042 : Don't You Lie To Me. Ace 074 : Crosscut Saw (alt.). Ace 102 : The Hunter (alt.).

See another list including non Stax records at

Detailed discography from Paul Bailey

vinyl singles: 

I wanna get funky (Carl Smith) 3.59 
That's what the blues is all about (Jerry Strickland and Bobby Patterson) 3.45 
Stax STA 0189 December 1973 

I love Lucy (Bell, Jones) 2.45 
You're gonna need me (King) 2.45 
UK Stax 601042  UK release date July 1968 

Cold feet (Albert King, Al Jackson Jnr) 2.43 
You sure drive a hard bargain (Betty Crutcher, Allen Jones) 2.55 
Stax 45-241  UK No noted as 601029  UK Release date not known 


Red House, Albert King 
UK Release date: 1991 
Issued under license from Gravity Records, USA: 
Stop (Jerry Ragavoy and Mort Shuman) 
Blues Man (Danny Green) 
Don't let me be lonely tonight (James Taylor) 
When you walk out the door (Darby) 
Problems (Darby) 
Our love is going to win (Payne, Green) 
Trouble (Danny Green) 
If you got it (Dickinson, Carroll, Keel) 
Red House (Jimi Hendrix) 

vinyl albums: 

Stax soul explosion, various artists 

Stax SXATS 1007 

Left Hand woman (get right with me) (Jones-Bell) 

The sleeve advertises "King, does the King's Things" SXATS 1017 
Date of album: 1968 

Laundromat blues - Albert King 

Edsel ED 130 (Demon Records) 

Born under a bad sign (Stax 45-217) 
Laundromat blues (Stax 45-190) 
I love Lucy (Stax 45-252) 
Crosscut Saw (Stax 45-201) 
You sure drive a hard bargain (Stax 45-241) 
You're gonna need me (Stax 45-241) 
I almost lost my mind (Stax LP 723) 
Overall junction (Stax 45-190) 
Oh pretty woman (Stax 45-197) 
Funkshun (Stax 45-197) 
The hunter (Atlantic 45-2604) 
Personal manager (Stax 45-217) 
Cold feet (Stax 45-241) 
Kansas City (Stax LP 723) 
Down don't bother me (Stax 45-201) 
As the years go passing by (Atlantic 45-2604) 
Date of album: 1984 

Masterworks - Albert King 

Atlantic K 60162 
(France: WE 312) 
(US: AD 2-4002) 

Personal manager (David Porter, Albert King) 
Cadillac assembly line (Mack Rice) 
Chump change (Barry Murphy, Eric Morgenson) 
Angel of mercy (Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson) 
The very thought of you (Ray Noble) 
Call my job (Al Perkins and Detroit Jnr) 
Born under a bad sign (Booker T Jones and William Bell) 
Truckload of loving (Jimmy Lewis) 
Rub my back (Lewis) 
Laundromat Blues (Sandy Jones) 
Cold women with warm hearts (Mack Rice) 
Kansas City (Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller) 
We all wanna boogie (Allen Toussaint) 
Blues at sunrise (Albert King) 
Good time Charlie (Willie Schofield) 
Crosscut saw (R G Ford) 
Ain't nothing you can do (Brooks) 
As the years go passing by (Deadric Malone) 
This album was issued in 1982 

On Personal Manager, The very thought of you, born under a bad sign, Laundromat blues, kansas city, crosscut saw and as the years go passing by the 
personnel is 
Guitars, Albert King and Steve Cropper 
Bass Duck Dunn 
Drums Al Jackson 
Piano Booker T Jones and Isaac Hayes 
Horns Memphis Horns 
Produced by Stax Staff. 

On Angel Of Mercy and We All Wanna Boogie the personnel is: 
Electric guitar Albert King 
Acoustic piano, 88, RMI Echoplex Allen Toussaint 
Bass George Porter Jr 
Electric guitar Leo Nocentelli, 
Electric piano, RMI Robert Dabon 
Electric piano: Wardell Quezergue 
Drums (Angel of Mercy) Leroy Breaux 
Drums (We all wanna boogie) Charles Williams 
Percussion Kenneth Williams 
Produced by Allen Toussaint for Sansu Enterprises 

On Cadillac Assembly Line, Truckload Of Loving and Cold Women With Warm Hearts, the personnel is 
Keyboards Joe Sample, Bert de Coteaux , Jerry Peters 
Guitars Wa Wa Watson, Billy Fender and Greg Poree 
Bass Charles Rainey and Henry Davis 
Drums James Gadson 
Background singers Lani Groves, Maxine Willard, Deniece Williams, Julia Tilman, 
Dee Ervin 
Produced by Bert de Coteaux and Tony Silvestre 

On Chump Change, Call My Job and Good Time Charlie, the personnel is 
Guitars and vocals Albert King 
Keyboards Ruby Robinson 
Bass Anthony Willis 
Guitar Eddie Willis (except Good time Charlie - Eddie and Aaron Willis) 
Drums Dwayne Lomax (except chump changs Dwayne Lomax and Ronald Wright) 
Produced by Don Davis for Great Lakes Productions 


The best of blues, various artists 

Tchibo Coffee Shops TCM 205733 
Manufactured by Bertelsmann Music Group 

I got the blues 9:06 (Noncentelli) 
This is a live performance recording. 
Recording first published 1978 by Sansu Enterprises Inc. 
Licensed from Charly by Schone Tone Musik Service, Hamburg 

Born under a bad sign - Albert King 

Stax KCD24-723-2 
(P) and (C) 2002 Remastering by George Horn, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley 
Born under a bad sign (Jones, Bell) 2.45 - recorded May 17 1967 
Crosscut saw (R G Ford) 2.34 - recorded 2 Nov 1966 
Kansas city (Leiber-Stoller) 2.33 - Recorded 9 June 1967 
Oh, pretty woman (A C Williams) 2.47 - recorded 3 August 1966 
Down don't bother me (Albert King) 2.11 - recorded 2 Nov 1966 
The hunter (Jones, Wells, Jackson, Dunn, Cropper) 2.45 - recorded 9 June 67 
I almost lost my mind (Ivory Joe Hunter) 3.31 - recorded 9 June 67 
Personal manager (Albert King, David Porter) 4.30 - recorded 17 May 67 
Laundromat blues (Sandy Jones Jr) 3.23 - recorded 3 March 1966 
As the years go passing by (Deadric Malone) 3.47 - recorded 9 June 67 
The very thought of you (Ray Noble) 3.47 -  recorded 9 June 67 
Albert King, vocal and guitar 
Steve Cropper. guitar 
Booker T Jones, Isaac Hayes - piano 
Donald Duck Dunn - bass 
Al Jackson Jr - drums 
The Memphis Horns, Wayne Jackson, Andrew Love, Joe Arnold 
Supervision Jim Stewart 

The sleeve also advertises the following CDs 
Live wire blues power, SCD24-4128-2 
Blues for Elvis, SCD24-8504-2 
I wanna get funky, SCD24-8536-2 
Jammed Together, SCD24-8544-2 
Wednesday night in San Francisco, SCD24-8556-2 
Thursday night in San Francisco, SCD24-8557-2 

The best of Albert King 

Stax CDSXK 122 

Born under a bad sign (Booker T Jones, William Bell) 
Phone booth (dennis Walker, Robert Cray, Richard Cousins, Michael Vannice, 1984 
Crosscut Saw (credited to Tony Hollins - ?!) 
I'll play the blues for you (Tony Beach) 
The Killing Floor (Chester Burnett) previously unreleased 
Breaking up somebodys home (Al Jackson Jr, Timothy Matthews) 
Cold Sweat (James Brown, Alfred Ellis) 
Driving wheel (Roosevelt Sykes) 
Flat tire (Albert King, Henry Bush) 
The Pinch Paid off, part one (Helen Washington, Permiller Ward) 
Left hand woman get right with me (Booker T Jones, William Bell) 
Blues power (Albert King) 
I get evil (don't you lie to me) (Hudson Whittaker) 
Got to be some changes made (Albert King) 
For the love of a woman (Don Nix) 
There are no timings or recording dates. 

This UK CD advertises the following releases: 
Live at Montreux -Blues at sunrise: CDSXE017 
Thursday night in San Francisco - CDSXE032 
As years go by plus - CDSXD045 
The lost session - CDSXE066 
Montreux Festival - CDSXE070 
The blues don't change - CDSXE085 
I'll play the blues for you/Lovejoy CDSXD969 
Blues at sunset - SCD8581 
Funky London - SCD8586 
Hard Bargain - SCD8594 

The Stax Story, 4 cd set 

Stax 4SCD-4429-2 

Crosscut saw, 2.34 (R G Ford) Nov 14 1966 
Jim Stewart with the Stax Staff. (Stax 201) 

Cold Feet 2.48 (Albert King, Al Jackson Jr) 
Dec 26 1967, Al Jackson Jnr. (Stax 241) 

Breaking up somebodys home 3.35 (Jackson, Matthews) 
November 1972 (Stax 0147) 
Allen Jones and Henry Bush 

Live recordings: 
Killing Floor  3.47  (Chester Burnett [Howling Wolf]) 
August 20 1972  Wattstax, Stax LP 2-3010 
The Wattstax Los Angeles Memorial Collection 

Blues Power  3.11 (Albert King) 
January 1969 (Stax 45-0020) 
Fillmore West, San Francisco 

The "Stax staff" were Isaac Hayes, David Porter, Booker T Jones, Steve Cropper, 
Duck Dunn and Al Jackson Jnr