Sunday, November 18, 2007

Al King's lyrical magic

Al King has been gone for several years but he produced a small body of blues recordings that endure because of his wonderful sober singing (often in bands with the likes of Johnny Heartsman playing on sessions) and his marvelous lyrics.

Here are some lyrical fragments:

From My Name Is Misery

I don't have no money
And I can't even pay my rent
If you put a money dog on my trail
He wouldn't even scratch a scent

Or how about his The Thrill is Gone (melody from Things I Used to Do)

The thrill is gone
The thrill I used to have for you
The thrill is gone
The thrill I used to have for you
Now you're beggin' me to take you back
Lord, but ain't a darn thing I can do

There was a reissue of all of Al King's recordings, including his most famous song, Think Twice Before You Speak. Unfortunately it and a new album by him I believe are both out-of-print and he shortly passed on. Pea-Vine has a reissue West Coast Modern Blues 1960's Vol. 3 that includes 8 tracks by Al King along with selections by Willie Headen and King Solomon. The notes may be in Japanese, but the liner booklet dos include lyrics in English and while expensive (It is an import after all), the music, especially by Al King, is first rate. I believe it is available from

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