Saturday, December 10, 2016

One of the Four Kings...

There are four great Kings who were blues guitar players. I have seen B B King. It was a memorable night, not just for the music which was great but also because we accidentally left the late Tim Graham standing on the side of the road in the middle of the night at the exact center of nowhere. Don't worry, we went back and got him. I have seen Albert King. It was a few months before his death and I think maybe he was not at his best that day. I know I was not at my best because I had an awful hangover. I guess neither one of us was really feeling it. I never saw Freddie King who consumed only Bloody Marys instead of food so as not to waste any time at a sit down meal. He was gone way too soon in 1976 but I have a bunch of his records.  Looking through old photos this week I remembered what a great time I had seeing Earl King a couple of times at the jazz fest in New Orleans. 

These are a couple of old photos from the first time I saw him. I am going to guess mid 80s. If you don't know Earl he was a player in the New Orleans R&B Style who was influenced by another player who came before called Guitar Slim. In fact Earl became so good at what Slim did he took his place on a tour as an imposter when Slim had to take time off because of a car accident. Without Slim and Earl you have no Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn. 

Photos I made that day a little blurry because they have been scanned ,uploaded and then downloaded again. Maybe the originals will surface. I am having seasonal nostalgia of some sort as I sift through photos for memories. 

Here's some better photos from maybe the early 90s. 

You have maybe noted the behind the back playing that became a signature move for Jimi and SRV. King was doing it long before them. He wrote and recorded the song "Come On" in 1960. It was later recorded by Hendrix.  

Earl was born Earl Silas Johnson IV in New Orleans and was advised to use the name King Earl, as a stage name. A type setter reversed the stage name and the rest is history. He could often be found at the Tastee Donut shop on Prytania Ave which he used as an office to conduct business. King passed from diabetes complications in 2003.  

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