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Earl King

Songwriter, singer, guitarist, and hitmaker: Earl King wore a lot of hats on the 1950s New Orleans R&B scene. After making some regional noise with his impassioned 1954 Specialty single A Mother's Love (see Disc Four), he cast his lot with Johnny Vincent's fledgling Ace Records and gave the label its first national hit the following year with his plaintive two-chord blues Those Lonely, Lonely Nights.

"Johnny used to work with Specialty before he started his own label, Ace," said the late King. "One day, he came to me and said, 'Look, Earl, I'm starting a label. You ain't doing anything with Specialty, they ain't doing anything with you. You got some good songs. Why don't you come on over with me? Let's see if we can make some money.' And that's what happened. I went over with Johnny, and the first record I did with him was 'Those Lonely, Lonely Nights.' And it took off for him real quick."

Huey 'Piano' Smith's rolling 88s were a principal factor in the record's atmospheric charm, and Huey would continue to rattle the ivories on many of Earl's Ace encores. Yet My Love Is Strong, You Can Fly High, Well'O Well'O Well'O Baby, and Everybody's Carried Away, the latter three rampaging Crescent City rock and roll outings, came and went without anyone outside the Big Easy much noticing.

Earl's stop-time rocker Darling Honey Angel Child emerged on recording engineer Cosimo Matassa's Rex label in 1960. "That really was an instrumental," said Earl. "I kept saying, 'I wish I could put some words to this!' One day, I said, 'Oh well, what the hell, let me put some words to this groove.' And that's what I did."

Again, the record never made it past the bayous of Louisiana. King expanded it into a two-part single upon signing with Imperial later that year, re-titling his creation Come On and inserting scads of singular lead guitar parts that rode jauntily over a percolating second-line groove supplied by pianist James Booker, bassist George Davis, and drummer Robert French that came decorated with four horns.

"My greatest recording experiences came when I went with Imperial," said Earl. "Dave Bartholomew, who was the producer there, he gave me a free hand to do what I needed to do, whatever I wanted to do musically. I did just about what I wanted." Among King's other Imperial triumphs were 1962's hilarious Trick Bag and its charting flip Always A First Time. Come On found its way to Jimi Hendrix, who revisited the anthem on his 'Electric Ladyland' LP in 1968.

Although King wrote early '60s hits for Lee Dorsey, Willie Tee, and Fats Domino, a 1963 jaunt to Motown amounted to nothing tangible, and his promising '72 LP for Allen Toussaint was shelved. A trio of fine albums for New Orleans-based Black Top Records revitalized his performing career and had him touring from the mid-'80s on. Earl Silas Johnson IV died April 17, 2003 and was honored with a full traditional jazz funeral procession that wound through the streets of his lifelong hometown. It was a ceremony fit for a king.

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois 

Electric Blues 1939–2005 – The Definitive Collection!
Volume 3: 1960–1969

Bobby Blue Bland on Wikipedia


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Street Parade (CD)
Earl King: Street Parade (CD) Art-Nr.: CD0612982

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(1972) (58:55 / 18) à l'origine avec presque 10 ans de retard seulement publiés dans l'album Royaume-Uni, est probablement accompagné par le compteur au roi. Bonne funky blues avec de nombreux titres bonus / sorti uniquement au...
29,95 €
King Of New Orleans (CD)
Earl King: King Of New Orleans (CD) Art-Nr.: CD611132

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(2001/Fuel 2000) 16 Tracks - Featuring Roomful Of Blues! 1986 recordings! Liner notes by Bill Dahl! Small cut-out
19,95 €
King Of New Orleans (CD, Cut-Out)
Earl King: King Of New Orleans (CD, Cut-Out) Art-Nr.: CD0611132-C

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(Fuel 2000) 16 tracks, cut-out Featuring Roomful Of Blues! 1986 recordings! Liner notes by Bill Dahl! Small cut-out
14,95 €
New Orleans Street Talkin' (CD)
Earl King: New Orleans Street Talkin' (CD) Art-Nr.: CD700424

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(Black Top Records) 11 tracks
24,95 €
King, Earl & Roomful Of Blues Glazed
Earl King & Roomful Of Blues: King, Earl & Roomful Of Blues Glazed Art-Nr.: CDHEP0528

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Réédition. «Glacé» est un chef-d'œuvre, l'exemple parfait d'une colaboration fructueuse entre les héros de New Orleans R & B, et ce qui était alors le blues les plus réussies Bande de tourisme. Les deux, le Roi et Earl, démontrent leurs...
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New Orleans Party Classics
Earl King & Roomful Of Blues: New Orleans Party Classics Art-Nr.: CDRB3298

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(2015/Rockbeat) 22 tracks. Track 1 - 12 from 1986 Black Top album with Roomful Of Blues, tracks 13-16 from the 1993 album plus 6 tracks from 1960/61 singles.
14,95 €
Let The Good Times Roll - Singles A's & B's 1955-1962 (CD)
Earl King: Let The Good Times Roll - Singles A's & B's... Art-Nr.: CDJAS3060

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(2016/Jasmine) 31 Tracks - New Orleans Rhythm & Blues, original Ace, Vin, King, Rex and Imperial recordings, 1955-62! 
14,95 €
The Singles Collection 1953-62 (2-CD)
Earl King: The Singles Collection 1953-62 (2-CD) Art-Nr.: CDADDCD3271

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(Acrobat) 41 tracks. Le guitariste, chanteur et auteur-compositeur de blues Earl King, originaire de la Nouvelle-Orléans, a été l'un des artistes influents qui ont contribué à créer le style distinctif du R&B qui caractérise la musique...
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