King is pure class. This guitar work is undeniable and a lot of fun, a perfect blending of instrumental electric blues and rockabilly. Sunglasses must be worn to fully appreciate these tunes; cigarettes aren’t required but may help. This album will turn you into a bona fide Cool Cat before the end of the first track, I guarantee it.
Freddie King was one of three blues giants with the surname King – along with B.B. and Albert – who were all unrelated. Freddie was a forceful presence and formidable figure in two of the most prominent blues scenes. In the state he was born in (and to which he eventually returned), he was known as the “Texas Cannonball.” For much of the Fifties and early Sixties, he was a Chicago blues legend, particularly on the city’s West Side. Revered by his fans and respected by his peers, King was best-known for his searing, assertive solos and dynamic showmanship.
Many of his most-famous songs, especially during his tenure on Syd Nathan’s King and Federal labels, were instrumentals. King’s biggest hit was “Hide Away” a lively instrumental named for Mel’s Hideaway Lounge, one of his favorite Chicago blues clubs. The song was a clever composite of licks and snippets from other songs, including “Taylor’s Boogie” by Hound Dog Taylor and “The Peter Gunn Theme.” It is a staple of the blues repertoire to this day, and it is arguably the ultimate house-rocking blues instrumental. King possessed a strong, soulful voice as well, captured on such classics as “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” and “I’m Tore Down.”