Review Summary: Buy. This. Now.
There are three recognized “Kings” of blues guitar. Along side B.B. King and Freddie King, Albert King remains one of the most influential blues musicians to ever pick up a 6 string.
Though one of the “3 Kings” as it were, Albert King was arguably the most important of the 3. His album, Live Wire/Blues Power which was released in '68, had a profound effect in influencing big names such as: Clapton, Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. But this is an album before that time. This is his second record, this is where it all started for him. His smooth, instantly recognizable voice, his unorthodox guitar tuning, and his classic lyrics are all here on this often overlooked record.
The original record had the album split in half, which is genius packaging because each side has its own mood and personality. The first 6 songs are pretty up-tempo and short. King wastes no time to getting to the good stuff. He opens up his album with two songs that would become a staple of the blues genre. Born Under a Bad Sign and Crosscut Saw may be short songs, running only about two and a half minutes each, but that takes nothing away from them. Born Under a Bad Sign contains some of the best blues lyrics you could ask for, along with a great backing arrangement. Crosscut Saw has ended up being covered several times by other blues artists years after this recording.
After ending the first side with “The Hunter” (probably the second best song on the album), the second half continues with slower and longer ballad type songs. The second half shows a very sensitive side of King that may not have been picked up before. The songs "As The Years Go Passing By", "The Very Thought Of You", and "Personal Manager" stand out as the best and most soothing of their half of the record.
Though it is known that most of this website hardly touches the blues, it is still sad that this album goes overlooked for so long by so many people who proclaim to be music enthusiasts. I can only hope that this short review of a truly extraordinary record may garner some attention to the genius that was Albert King.