After two of the most well celebrated albums of all time, we take a deeper cut, and perhaps a bit of a time travel, with today’s selection. The challenge with compilation albums is trying to decide where to sequence them. In 1971, Freddie King was still a very successful performing and recording artist, appearing on main-stream rock bills with rock legends like Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton. That being said, his recording career dates way back to the 1950s, and the sound of this album is very consistent with some of the other blues artists of that era, including the other two “Kings”, B.B. and Albert. Freddie King is Texas born, and after moving to Chicago, was ultimately recognized by both locations as a favorite son. On this album, “Blues 20 Hits”, you get a full range of his talent, and it is the 10th rated blues album of all time on digitaldreamdoors.com.
Approximately half the album is instrumental with King on guitar, but his vocals shine through strongly on the songs he does sing. Having listened to as much blues music as I have during this journey, this album certainly rates up there with his contemporaries, and is a great addition to the blues library. Like many of these albums, there aren’t many songs that stand out above the rest, but that is more a testament to the consistency of the sound. I do really like “I’m Tore Down”, “San-Ho-Zay”, “Nickel Plated”, “Just Pickin’”, which sounds like the natural predecessor to “Scuttle Buttin’” by Stevie Ray Vaughan, and “Man Hole”. There isn’t a bad song on this album; Freddie King stands proudly among the 3 Kings of Blues, and all of his other peers of the era.