Freddie King

Freddie King, who along with Albert & B.B. were known as the “Three Kings of Electric Blues”. He was born in 1934 and is one of the great blues guitarists to come out of Texas. Best known for playing a Gibson 345 or 355 slung over his right shoulder, he played with a metal thumb pick and a metal finger pick on his index finger. This allowed him to attack the strings using either a down or up motion and gave his playing a distinct, bright sound whenever he played a lick. Combine this with a Fender Quadverb and it makes for a killer combo. Unfortunately, Freddie died in 1976 at the age of 42. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of fame in 2012.

Some of his signature tunes include:


The Stumble

I’m Tore Down

Going Down

Joe’s Recommendation: Key to the Highway from 1971’s Getting Ready. “This is my favorite take of that blues standard.” It is a funky one that really lets Freddie shine on guitar and vocals. Getting Ready was released on Shelter Records, Leon Russell’s label. Leon helped put the funk into Freddie’s sound, and it is a high point in his stellar career.

This version of Key to the Highway was recently featured on Eric Clapton’s 2007 tour featuring Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks. From day one of Eric’s career he leaned heavily on Freddie’s influence  and in 1966, he would often cover Hideaway with the Bluesbreakers. Over the next 5 decades, Clapton would draw liberally from Freddie’s catalogue, even performing a Freddie King tribute in the mid 90’s.

Brendan’s Recommendation: Check out the album “Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King”. This album of instrumentals is full of fantastic guitar playing. We could do a years worth of lessons on the material  from this album alone. Honestly, I usually don’t go for instrumental blues tunes but this album is definitely worth a listen. My favorite track is Sen-Sa-Shun.


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