Blues Great Freddie King

Freddie KingOn this day in 1934, the great blues guitarist Freddie King was born. He was raised in Dallas but his family moved to Chicago when he was a teenager. As a result of this, he developed a style that combined the distinct music associated with those areas. By the time he was 18, he was playing semi-professionally. By his early twenties, he was playing with people like Hound Dog Taylor and the legendary Willie Dixon. It was through his connection with Dixon that he got a record contract. (The establishment felt he sang too much like BB King — not an invalid criticism.)

In 1960, he signed with Federal Records where he broke out. His first single was “Have You Ever Loved a Woman.” It was actually the B-side, “You’ve Got to Love Her with a Feeling,” that got more radio play. But I prefer the A-side. Here he is ten years later performing it live:

In 1961, King had a bona fide Top-40 hit with “Hide Away.” It is an upbeat instrumental. It too was originally a B-Side. Here he is performing it live — pretty much as it is on the original single but faster.

King’s career was marked by almost constant touring. The stress of this and his bad “Bloody Mary” diet resulted in his death of pancreatitis at the age of only 42. But he left us a lot of great music. It’s well worth check out. He was one of the greats.

Happy birthday Freddie King!

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