Our first Freddy King compilation, Blues Guitar Hero: The Influential Early Sessions (CDCHD 454), has been one of our strongest sellers over the past decade. Now we are able to release the long-awaited second volume from the same Federal/King sources, covering the period 1961 through 1966. For maximum effect, the original 2-track tapes have been mixed down to glorious mono, exactly as the King engineers would have done at the time.
The aim then was to grab the attention of the radio and jukebox listeners. But there were other important audiences, namely ... enthralled British disciples Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Peter Green and Jimmy Page as well as countless southern California surf combos", as described by Bill Dahl in his authoritative note. These budding guitarists loved Freddy's records with their excess of guitar virtuosity rooted in the Chicago blues. Because Freddy had big chart hits, his records had a higher visibility (and influence) than those of fellow Kings, B.B. and Albert.
Even so, the seven hits - led by the mighty Hide Away - were compressed into one year, 1961. They're all on Volume One. Amazingly, nothing else charted. Although Freddy continued to make many good records, there was also some dross, particularly with stillborn dance novelties. Therefore we have been very selective in choosing the best of the remaining singles, augmented by the better LP tracks and four unreleased alternate takes (note particularly the storming version of Wash Out).
The result is a compilation that matches the same sky-high standard of the first volume. There are lashings of driving guitar-led instrumentals including the extravagant 6-minute interpretation of country classic Remington Ride. Then there are the blues-drenched vocal numbers, such as an extended version of Someday After Awhile (You'll Be Sorry). The star-studded accompanists include Lonnie Mack - yes, indeed! - and Fred Jordan (guitars), Clifford Scott and Gene Redd (saxophones), Sonny Thompson (piano) and Philip Paul (drums).
This is another great one for the many, many fans of Freddy King - and for blues and instrumental collectors everywhere. He is a true Blues Guitar Hero.
By John Broven