Originally released in 1996, this was recorded a couple years before Freddie’s death, and it captures him in full bloom.
As you’d expect, the concert portion finds him blasting away from all angles while dusting off his (and other folks’) blues chestnuts. “Woman Across the River” has a fabulous vocal and a funky feel that’ll keep you going all day. “Key to the Highway” is presented a little differently; it’s a straight-ahead shuffle with that big Freddie King sound. “Let the Good Times Roll” is done up Southern-soul style with a great call-and-respond section. If slow blues is your deal, you’ll want to check out the long (but never boring) version of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business.” It’s pure blues heaven. And what live Freddie King record would be complete without a “Hideaway Medley”? The sound isn’t great, but it really doesn’t matter; King’s soul and character shine through.
The really cool parts of this disc are the numerous radio-interview segments. In some, he insists that he’s not an acoustic guitarist, then proceeds to play a couple of blistering country-blues, including a wonderful “Dust My Broom.” The interviews alone are worth the price of admission. Add fine liner notes from Dave Alvin, Freddie’s daughter, Wanda, and numerous others, and you’ve got one terrific CD.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Sep. ’06 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.