Albert King Albums Ranked

Albert Nelson (April 25, 1923 – December 21, 1992), known by his stage name Albert King, was an American blues guitarist and singer whose playing influenced many other blues guitarists. He is perhaps best known for the popular and influential album Born Under a Bad Sign (1967) and its title track. He is one of the three performers (together with B.B. King and Freddie King) known as the “Kings of the Blues.” King was known for his “deep, dramatic sound that was widely imitated by both blues and rock guitarists.”
He was once nicknamed “The Velvet Bulldozer” because of his smooth singing and large size–he stood taller than average, with sources reporting 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) or 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), and weighed 250 lb (110 kg)–and also because he drove a bulldozer in one of his day jobs early in his career. King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2011, he was ranked number 13 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Here are all of Albert King albums ranked.

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8. New Orleans Heat (1978)

“New Orlean Heat, an Albert King collaboration with Allen Toussaint, is, in many ways, a step back in time, or an homage to the fifties and early sixties, when blues and r&b artists flocked to Cosmo’s to cut records with the funk talent of the crescent city. Albert is his usual smooth, velvet bulldozer on vocals, and arrangements are good, if not cutting edge. A lot less of the NO style funk than one might expect. The guitar work is subdued, so if you are expecting a lot of heat in New Orleans Heat. prepare to be underwhelmed. Not a lot of “talking wire” here. Perhaps the song choices and arrangements tended to muzzle Albert’s well-known guitar excitement, the be a team player approach. Surprisingly, the liner notes give no mention of the backup female vocalists, and perhaps a few other members of the team. The foregoing disparagement aside, this is a fine album and one any AK fan needs in his collection to represent his Tomato years, in much the same way a Freddie King fan needs Texas Cannonball to represent his Shelter years. Just don’t expect Born Under a Bad Sign meets the Meters.”

7. Lovejoy (1971)

“Hugely infectious, great songs, solid production from Don Nix, if you even remotely like blues, you need to pick this up. cannot believe i did not hear this in the 70s, now I cannot take it out of my CD player and all my friends ask me “who is that?, that’s awesome!” King at his finest IMHO. “

6. I’m in a Phone Booth, Baby (1984)

“Albert King is considered to be one of the greats in the Blues Genre. admittedly I bought this album blindly and wasn’t quite sure what I was getting as Id never heard Albert King’s music but when I heard that he was largely responsible for a young Stevie Ray Vaughan wanting to play the guitar I knew I had to dive in deep I’ve started listening to King on a daily basis since I bought his music as I really love The Blues.”

5. Jammed Together (1988)

“Albert King + Pops Stapes + Steve Cropper = Even MORE than you’d expect!!! You can hear the FUN these 3 fantastic artists were having playing together in the recording studio. Step back in time to 1969 for a truly LOVELY album from a completely ‘alternative Super-Group’. It’s NOT flashy!!! It’s NOT flamboyant!!! It IS FUN!!! It exudes mutual respect, friendship, and the simple joy of just playing together with understated excellence. JAMMED together is TRULY what it is!!!”

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4. Years Gone By (1969)

“Born under a bad sign is generally regarded as the classic King record and I can see why, its a collection of great songs that have a wider appeal due to their short length and instant hooks. Plus it also has that amazing cover!. This album is different in that it has more of an album feel to it as opposed to a collection of singles. The songs are still short but they are punctuated by an instrumental and a reprise that give it added substance. For me Albert King will always be a great guitar player and this is an album that better showcases his talent. As much as i love born under a bad sign, being a guitar player I cant help this being my favorite. There is some really funky stuff here like ‘cockroach’ and ‘if the washing don’t get you’ and the instrumentals are just brilliant. The cover of Howlin Wolf’s ‘killing Floor’ is actually better than the original and is my personal highlight. I learned so much from this album its unreal and Id recommend it to any learning guitarist for its simple yet so effective playing. I only have an old version on vinyl so i cant comment on the bonus tracks but I’m definitely going to get myself one on CD. For guitar players and fans of the blues this is just indispensable and for me Albert King at his peak.”

3. I Wanna Get Funky (1973)

“Great album one you would put on an “alone on a deserted island list”. Probably my favorite Albert King album of all time. Playing on Me is one awesome cut [side 1 track 2]. Albert lays down some tasty blues over a super tight 70s era Stax funk band [Bar-Kays, Memphis Horns]. Do yourself a favor “kick it old school” and get this one, cause it’s ALL good because you won’t be disappointed. The only negative thing to say about this album is Playing on Me should have been 2 minutes longer.”

2. Born Under a Bad Sign (1967)

“This album (along with his I’ll Play the Blues for You) is essential for any blues collection.  Superbly remastered and presented, full of classics and with bonus tracks – what’s not to like?  Yes, it can be frustrating that many of the songs are so short but as they were recorded as singles, not album tracks, we can’t really complain.  The ‘velvet bulldozer’ was (and remains) highly influential, with songs here being covered at the time by Cream (“Born Under a Bad Sign”) and more recently by the late great Gary Moore (“As the Years go Passing By”) and countless other rock and blues acts.  Listen to this album and you’ll see why immediately.  A soulful singer, a great guitarist, and without a doubt a King of the blues.”

1.I’ll Play the Blues for You (1972)

“I’ll Play The Blues For You (Parts One and Two”) showcases his singing, talking blues ability and guitar. It features the only use of his famous (to blues players) bass string riff in Part 2 of the tune. SRV used it several times. “Little Brother Make A Way” is a great soul vocal and is the only double tracked vocal he ever did! “Breaking Up Sombodys Home” is a classic blues funk inspired from an earlier tune by Ann Peebles. He vamps it up with a meaty solo. “I’ll Be Doggone” is a Marvin Gaye tune made into real soul (like Stax did!!!) I have never fully believed that that track is really live- oh well, it is effective! The solo has true King-style bending.”