Nev talks about the influence of Freddie King.
Of the three blues Kings it seems to me that Freddie comes off worst when it comes to the reverence in which the trio of legends is held. BB is of course the sweet-toned man of taste and musical refinement, while Albert is loved for his rawness and a seeming link directly to ‘the source’, whatever that source is. But I think Freddie is rather too often overlooked as the ‘one in the middle’.
In reality his influence is probably the most wide reaching. Yes, you can hear a touch of BB in a ton of people’s playing, and Albert looms large as an influence in certain guitarists’ styles; but it’s difficult to find anyone who came after Freddie that doesn’t owe him a debt of sorts.
In a way, Freddie took the T-Bone Walker template, the ‘shape’ system, ramped it up a few notches, added his own brand of showmanship and his own amazing songwriting skills, and became the perfect all-round blues machine.
And let’s not forget that voice! Check out a few slow Freddie songs and see if you can spot where a certain Ripley boy got his ‘rasp’. And listen to the original of this month’s transcription: could that not be Peter Green singing - and playing? Add Greeny’s out-of-phase honk and the licks are a pretty good match. Pile on extra guts and spite and it’s Bluesbreakers Clapton again.
But have a listen to Stevie Ray Vaughan or Johnny Winter, and you’ll also hear big chunks of Freddie’s style coming out - even though in Stevie’s case he’s not the first King that springs to mind. And when you consider how hugely influential players like Clapton, Green and Vaughan were in their turn, it’s fair to say we have a lot to thank Freddie’s fingers for.
Taking Care Of Business is not the hardest Freddie track we could have chosen. But it’s him in his more formative years and we felt it was a good idea to bring you the essence of this giant of a man and giant of a player. The backing track will allow you fantastic leeway to extend Freddie’s licks, add new ones of your own or perhaps even practice that silky vocal style!
Have fun... see you next month.