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He was one of the 'Four Kings of the Blues', none of whom were actually related and a huge influence on guitar players, after he came to prominence recording for Stax Records in the sixties. Amongst those he influenced, were Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton and later, Gary Moore, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray. Albert King is left-handed and plays his guitar 'upside down' without restringing it, so that the bass strings are at the bottom, which accounts for his unique tone. "Albert was one of the artists I used many times for various reasons. He wasn't just a good guitar player; he had a wonderful stage presence, he was very congenial and warm, he was relaxed on stage, and he related to the public.“ Bill Graham Despite being one of the 'Kings of the Blues' and having been born in Indianola, B.B. King's hometown, his real name was Albert Nelson, the son of an itinerant preacher. Born in 1923, he taught himself to play on a homemade guitar. In 1953, he recorded a single for the Parrott label, it failed to create much of an impression and it was not until 1959, when he signed to the Bobbin label and cut a number of sides for them (and later the King label), that he was making a full time living from music. In 1966, King signed to Stax Records in Memphis and began recording with Booker T and The MG's as his backing band. They had five R&B hits together, including 'Born Under A Bad Sign', which would be later covered by Cream and was also the name of his debut album released in 1967. His follow-up a year later, was Years Gone By, which includes an influential cover of Howlin' Wolf's 'Killing Floor' and a stunning version of Elmore James's 'The Sky Is Crying'. In the same year, he played the opening night of the legendary San Francisco rock venue The Fillmore for promoter Bill Graham. King left Stax in 1974, having recorded a string of fine albums including 1972's I'll Play The Blues For You, as well as having had his biggest hit, 'That's What The Blues Is All About', taken from the album I Wanna Get Funky. He had the last of his 19 hits on the R&B chart in 1979, having toured throughout the decade and on into the 1980's. He died from a heart attack just before he left for a European tour in 1992.
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