Albert KingStax Records’ landmark debut album Born under a bad sign will be reissued in special editions by Craft Recordings on April 21, to celebrate the blues master’s centenary this year.
The influential 1967 LP will be available in special hi-res vinyl and digital editions, and will be pressed on 180 gram vinyl with lacquers (AAA) cut from Jeff Powell’s original stereo tapes at Take Out Vinyl. High-Resolution Digital (192/24 and 96/24) and SACD editions were mastered from the original stereo tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, exclusive to StaxRecords.com and CraftRecordings.com.
This staging station exit blues featured a line-up of star musicians, including Book T & MG’s and members of the Memphis Horns). Highlights include King’s original recording of “Born Under a Bad Sign” as well as enduring favorites such as “Laundromat Blues”, “Oh Pretty Woman” and “Crosscut Saw”.
King, regularly known as one of the “three kings” of the blues alongside his indie namesakes Freddie and BB., Albert King (1923–1992) was one of the most influential artists in the history of the genre. Known for both his deft electric style – most often on his Gibson Flying V – and his distinctly raspy voice, King combined an urgent Delta blues style with contemporary soul beats that brought the blues to a new generation.
The self-taught artist, born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, learned to play the guitar backwards, funding his musical ambitions with various jobs and moving north to Gary, IN, where he recorded his first singles and played alongside parents. Jimmy Reed blues spirit. King then moved to the St. Louis area again, building a club after releasing his first Top 20 R&B hit, “Don’t Throw Your Love on Me So Strong” in 1961.
Eventually moving south to Memphis, he signed with the mighty Stax, expanding his sound with inside collaborators such as Jones, Steve Cropper and William Bell. R&B hits followed, such as 1966’s “Laundromat Blues”, then “Crosscut Saw” and the Bell and Jones composition “Born Under a Bad Sign”. The track quickly became a blues staple, King’s inspiring original versions by Creamthe Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Big Mama Thornton and Bell’s own recording.
The album of the same name included these singles as well as originals such as “The Hunter”, written by Booker T. & the MG’s, and Carl Wells; “Personal Manager” (by King and David Porter); and King’s own composition “Down Don’t Bother Me”. The LP also featured his readings of established songs such as “Kansas City” by Leiber & Stoller and “The Very Thought of You” by Ray Noble.
The album had a huge influence on blues enthusiasts such as Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, jimi hendrixand Stevie Ray Vaughan, as the King star rose to status playing venues such as the Fillmore West and sharing the stage with rock greats.
Born under a bad sign was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame, and added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. He was also among rolling stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and its lead song in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”.
Pre-order special editions of Born under a bad sign, which will be released on April 21.