Monday, November 06, 2006

Freddy King

Freddy King was born Frederick Christian in Gilmer, Texas on September 3, 1934. He moved with his family from Texas to the southside of Chicago in 1950. There, at age 16 he used to sneak in to local clubs, where he heard blues music performed by the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, T-Bone Walker, Elmore James, and Sonny Boy Williamson.

Howlin' Wolf took him under his wing, and Freddie also began jamming with Muddy Waters' sidemen, who included Eddie Taylor, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Lockwood Jr. and Little Walter.

By 1952 he had married a Texas girl, Jessie Burnett. He gigged at night and worked days in a steel mill. He got occasional work as a sideman on recording sessions. He formed the first band of his own, the Every Hour Blues Boys, with guitarist Jimmy Lee Robinson and drummer Sonny Scott.

In 1960 he recorded Hide Away an adaptation of a tune by Hound Dog Taylor. It was a huge success but on the personal side, Freddie was fond, perhaps overly fond, of the Chicago night life. His official website refers to him "Gambling til dawn in the backroom of Mike's cleaners." His wife, now with six children, decided to move back to Texas.

Realising that the family were definitely not coming back to Chicago, Freddie, in the spring of 1963, himself moved back to Texas to rejoin them. He moved to Atlantic records and then to Shelters records while touring heavily. He died in Dallas in 1976 from a heart attack and complications arising from bleeding ulcers and pancreatitis. He was just 42 years of age. MP3: Hide Away


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