For Blues guitarists coming to maturity in the 1960’s, Freddie King
(September 3, 1934-December 28, 1976) was one of the most influential Blues guitarists to come out of Texas. Freddie King possessed a marvelous singing voice. But the greatest impression that Freddie King made in the early 1960‘s were with his finely crafted,and danceable, instrumentals. You can hear Freddie King’s direct influence as a guitar player in the work of such American players as Michael Bloomfield, Dickey Betts, Jimmy Vaughan, and Stevie Ray Vaughan and, in the U.K, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor. For these guitar players, and many others, the instrumentals of Freddie King were almost like a rite of passage in unlocking some of the secrets of playing the Blues.
The full title of the album reviewed here is “Let’s Hide Away and Dance with Freddie King.” For the sake of brevity, we will use the shortened title “Dance with Freddie King” for the rest of this review. Interestingly enough not only were these songs influential with Blues guitarists, but were also very popular with fans of “Surf” guitar players such as The Ventures and Dick Dale. This is because “Dance with Freddie King” had instrumentals with instantly memorable melodies. They always had a main melodic theme with plenty of possibilities for soloing.
The most important lesson of Freddie King’s work for the guitar player was the discipline of playing instrumentals with clearly defined parts. As the 1960’s progressed in to the 1970’s, Freddie King recorded albums that featured his vocals more prominently. He became a popular artist as a headliner and as an opening act for many popular Rock acts.
Three favorite songs on this album:
1. The Stumble
2. Hide Away
3. San Ho Say
Youtube Video Reviews:
1. “The Stumble,” shows off some of Freddie Kings powerful hammer on and bends with a groove that stays focused on the beat. There are also some fine stops” ( Pauses by the band that feature some of Freddie King’s best licks) There was a powerful cover of this tune by British guitarist Peter Green on the John Mayall album “A Hard Road.” The version featured on this video is directly from the “Dance with Freddie King” album.
2. “Hide Away,” is possibly the best known of the instrumentals of “Dance with Freddie King.” Again we have the use of stops that feature some fine guitar licks by Freddie King. There is also use of part of the theme from the television show “Peter Gunn.”
Eric Clapton recorded a stunning version of this tune on the John Mayall album
“Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton.” The video version featured here is also from
the “Dance with Freddie King” album.
3. “San Ho Say,” is another popular instrumental from the Freddie King
instrumental catalog. Grateful Dead guitarist, Jerry Garcia has said that this one of
the Freddie King tunes that made him want to switch from acoustic guitar to electric.
The video version featured here is from The 1966 Texas television show Beat !!!
In the back up band on this video is fellow Texas guitarist (originally from Louisiana)
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.