Mono Mondays: Freddie King, Freddie King is a Blues Master

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Monday, August 4, 2014
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Freddie King
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Mono Mondays: Freddie King, Freddie King is a Blues Master

This week’s Mono Monday release is a 1969 album from a certified blues master. Well, actually, we didn’t ask to see his certificate of mastery, but we respect Freddie King enough to know that he wouldn’t release an album entitled Freddie King is a Blues Master if he couldn’t back it up that kind of bold claim. Also, in case this piece happens to be your introduction to the album in question, allow us to assure you that we’ve heard it, and there’s definitely no case of false advertising in play.

By the time he released Blues Master, King – who died in 1976 at a far-too-young 42 years of age – already had a well-established history of describing his activities in his album titles. His debut LP was entitled Freddie King Sings, and in 1965 he offered up Freddie King Sings Again; between those two releases, he asked of potential buyers Let's Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King (1961), then hit the waves in 1963 with Freddie King Goes Surfin’.

AllMusic.com has precious little to say about Freddie King is a Blues Master, offering all of a six-word opinion on the release (“This solid set emphasizes King’s vocals”), but we’re here to tell you that it’s a solid piece of work, with King blending R&B and the blues beautifully on a mix of originals (“Play It Cool,” “Hide Away”, “Wide Open”) and covers of songs written by Chuck Willis (“It’s Too Late, She’s Gone”), Allen Toussaint (“Get Out of My Life, Woman”), and – most prominently – King Curtis (“Hot Tomato,” “Sweet Thing,” and “Let Me Down Easy”). It’s also worth noting that King and Curtis co-wrote a track together, too: a funky ditty with the highly appropriate title of “Funky.”

Never heard it? Here’s a perfectly good opportunity to go seek it out and give it a spin.