Saturday, 16 March 2019

Albert King - Lovejoy (1971)


  

Released July 1971

Of Albert King's five top-class albums on the legendary Stax label, this is the one that briefly dispensed with the ubiquitous Stax horn backing. It was straight up blues rock, with King's guitar to the fore over a solid rock and Chicago blues beat. As on all these albums, the sound quality is very good - nice stereo and a warm bass sound.

TRACK LISTING

1. Honky Tonk Woman
2. Bay Area Blues
3. Corinna Corinna
4. She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride
5. For The Love Of A Woman
6. Lovejoy, Ill.
7. Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven
8. Going Back To Iuka
9. Like A Road Leading Home

The opener is a convincing blues cover of The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman". King's razor sharp guitar kicks off the slow, shuffling blues rock of "Bay Area Blues". The much-covered "Corinna Corinna" is done wonderfully, full of that trademark Chicago blues sound.

Taj Mahal's "My Baby Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride" (referring to the "K.T." - The Missouri/Kansas/Texas railroad) is another tune covered impressively, with some unsurprising awesome guitar breaks. "For The Love Of A Woman" has a catchy, almost funky beat to it. King whoops and hollers as he brings his guitar to the party, interacting with the shuffling rhythm perfectly.  "Lovejoy, Ill." about a small Illinois town is not about King's hometown (he was from Mississippi), but he moved there in adult life. It is one of those soul songs where various instrumentalists are introduced to add to the groove, like "Memphis Soul Stew".

"Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven" is a typical, slow-pace blues number. King could this sort of thing in his sleep, effortlessly. It just washes over you warmly and beautifully. "Going Back To Iuka" begins with some superb guitar, coming alternatively out of each speaker as an incredibly infectious rolling drum rhythm kicks in. The final track, "Like A Road Leading Home" is a lovely, laid-back soul ballad that is completely different to the rest of the album's material and highlights what a fine soul voice King had as well. It has an uplifting, grandiose, gospelly finale to it.

There is probably slightly more variety on this album than on its predecessor, "Years Gone By". Basically, if blues rock does it for you, then any of King's Stax albums will provide instant pleasure.

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