Many many moons ago, Rolling Stone magazine did the top 500 albums of "the rock era." I always liked the list, and it is now my ambitious project to do a little homage to all 500. One a day, for the next 500 days. It's Day 2 here we go. (If you get antsy and want to see the whole list, it's here. Tell me how you think these albums are still standing up!
Born Under a Bad Sign
Born Under a Bad Sign is a blues album by Albert King released in 1967. The album became "one of the most popular and influential blues albums of the late '60s" and has been acknowledged by the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, and Rolling Stone magazine.
"Born Under a Bad Sign" was the first album by Albert King for Stax Records and his second album overall. It is composed of singles released by King recorded between March 1966 and June 1967, with additional studio tracks (see discography for singles information). Providing accompaniment to Albert King, who sang and played lead guitar, were the Stax in-house recording session band, Booker T. and the MGs, plus The Memphis Horns.
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Born Under a Bad Sign" William Bell, Booker T. Jones 2:47
2. "Crosscut Saw" R.G. Ford 2:35
3. "Kansas City" Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller 2:33
4. "Oh, Pretty Woman" A.C. Williams 2:48
5. "Down Don't Bother Me" Albert King 2:10
6. "The Hunter" Booker T. Jones, Carl Wells, Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn, Al Jackson, Jr. 2:45
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I Almost Lost My Mind" Ivory Joe Hunter 3:30
2. "Personal Manager" Albert King, David Porter 4:31
3. "Laundromat Blues" Sandie Jones 3:21
4. "As the Years Go Passing By" Deadric Malone 3:48
5. "The Very Thought of You" Ray Noble 3:46
* Albert King – lead guitar and vocals
* Steve Cropper – rhythm guitar
* Booker T. Jones – organ, piano
* Isaac Hayes – piano
* Donald "Duck" Dunn – bass guitar
* Al Jackson, Jr. – drums
* Wayne Jackson - trumpet
* Andrew Love - tenor saxophone
* Joe Arnold - baritone sax, flute
The release of Born Under a Bad Sign in 1967 "would change the face of American music, modernizing the blues". "'It was the great divide of modern blues, the point at which the music was rescued from slipping into derivative obscurity'". Part of the album's success has been attributed to Booker T. and the MGs who "gave his blues a sleek, soulful sound [which] gave King crossover appeal". Four of the album's songs became modern blues classics: "Born Under a Bad Sign", "Oh Pretty Woman", "The Hunter", and "Crosscut Saw" (although an older song, it was given a new treatment by King). Together with "Personal Manager" and "Laundromat Blues", they "form the very foundation of Albert King's musical identity and legacy".
Albert King's guitar work on the album "directly influenced legions of guitar players who studied its every subtlety and nuance" and was "profoundly influential, not just in blues, but in rock & roll". Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan have acknowledged King's influence; indeed, some of their guitar solos are close approximations to those found on Born Under a Bad Sign