Freddie King, West End Blend Spotlighted Jan. 18

A special edition of Greasy Tracks on Jan. 18 featured the music of blues legend Freddie King and members of Hartford’s West End Blend were in studio to discuss the octet’s latest release, Attitude.

Click here to listen to the archive.

Freddie King influenced a veritable who's who of guitarists (Robert Knight photo)

The Texas Cannonball: Freddie King influenced a veritable who’s who of guitarists. (Robert Knight photo)

The opening 90 minutes focused solely on the work of King (1934-76) who was known as “The Texas Cannonball” and a prime influence to a veritable who’s who of guitarists from Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor and Stevie Ray Vaughn to Jeff Beck, Peter Green and Duane Allman, to name but a few.

Attention then shifted to West End Blend which has become one of the premier soul/funk bands in the region, recently completing a 20-plus date run of shows. Drummer Sam Horan and trombonist John Mundy were in studio where they played tracks from and talked about the new release as well as some live recordings of the band.WEB.FallTour.CoverPhoto

King gained key chart success recording for Federal Records in the early 1960s when his instrumental “Hide Away” became his first Top 10 single, reaching No. 5 on the R&B charts in 1960. The track would become a standard cover for guitarists around the world.

His second studio album for Federal, Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King, included his best-ever charting “San-Ho-Say” which went to No. 4 in addition to “Hide Away.” “San-Ho-Say” was often included in live sets by Albert King, who was no relation and actually born Albert Nelson. The two greats, along with B.B. King — also no relation — were known as “The Three Kings” of the blues

Freddie King

Hard living, hard playing: Freddie King was turned down by Chess Records who believed he sounded too much like B.B. King.

John Mayall would go on to record “Hide Away” with Eric Clapton playing lead guitar in his 1966 edition of The Blues Breakers and a year later, with Peter Green taking over on lead guitar, Mayall took a pair of King tracks, “The Stumble” and “Someday After a While” for A Hard Road.

King’s exposure as a live performer grew as he toured more widely, including Europe where he first played in 1967. In 1968, he moved to Atlantic Records where ace saxophonist/band leader King Curtis produced a pair of outstanding King albums, Freddie King Is a Blues Master and My Feeling For The Blues.

He then signed with Shelter — a young label founded in 1969 by Leon Russell and Denny Cordell — where he recorded a trio of releases, Getting Ready (1971), The Texas Cannonball (1972) and Woman Across The River (1973).

King’s final studio recordings were done on RSO, the best being his debut on the label, Burglar, in 1974 with Eric Clapton and members of his band, Jamie Oldaker (drums), Carl Radle (bass), Dick Sims (keyboards) ATTITUDEand George Terry (guitar) sitting in. His final release, Larger Than Life, featured studio recordings mixed with a handful of live tracks recorded at The Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin with David Newman (sax), Melvin “Wah Wah Watson” Ragin (guitar), Sam Clayton (congas) and Jim Gordon (drums) all making appearances.

Greasy Tracks, which usually airs Saturday’s 3:30-5:30 p.m., is the longest-running soul/blues program in the state.

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