Willie KING & The Liberators – Freedom Creek 2000

Willie KING & The Liberators – Freedom Creek 2000


Bluesman Willie King’s mentor, Mississippi musician Albert “Brook” Duck, once explained to Willie that most blues lyrics which have man/woman relationships as their subject actually reflect misguided, pent-up hostility resulting from not having an outlet to express frustration at the real oppressor: “the people with the money.” Willie King took that revelatory message to heart, going after the root of the problem in his gutsy music and lyrics. In the liner notes to Freedom Creek, Liberators’ guitarist Aaron Hodge is quoted as saying, “I think Willie King is more of a Bob Marley kind of guy, grassroots, and really striving.” Willie King & the Liberators’ music is gritty enough to please fans of R.L. Burnside or Junior Kimbrough, while King brings another dimension to blues poetry by focusing on national unity, change, and especially fighting corruption. The titles tell the story: “Let’s Come Together (as One Community),” “Stand up and Speak the Truth,” “Clean Up the Ghetto,” “My Boss Man and My Baby,” and “Pickens County Payback.” It’s unfortunate that some of the music wasn’t tightened up; it occasionally rambles and bogs down into unnecessarily lengthy jams. Nevertheless, Freedom Creek is an important release with righteous lyrics and a refreshing lack of over-production — it will prove timeless.
By Al Campbell. AMG.
He calls it “struggling blues,” and Willie King is one of only a handful of blues artists alive today delving into such meaty subjects as racism, poverty and social injustice.

Willie King’s Freedom Creek,
King’s Freedom Creek is a revelation and an inspiration. Not since Bob Marley’s early political songs have I heard such a lyrical vision of a community in trouble (Jamaica in Marley’s case, the rural south for King). Songs like “Pickens County Payback,” “Twenty Long Years” or “The Sell-Out” are hardcore declarations of faith – strongly held belief in the spirit of man and woman to overcome.

As might be gathered from his music, King is a social activist as well as a blues artist. King is the founder of the Rural Members Association, an organization that preaches self-reliance by teaching African-Americans in rural Mississippi and Alabama.

Traditional Roots, Unique Sound,
Musically influenced by Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker, King’s sound is nonetheless unique. Using a second vocalist to enhance and echo his vocals, and employing a guitar style that is equal parts Albert King and Willie King, King’s music is both hypnotic and uplifting, polished to a sharp edge by playing juke joints and house parties for a quarter century.

His vocals are drenched in the Delta and schooled by the church, delivered like a preacher at the pulpit with a physical and spiritual force that today’s most passionate rappers and rockers could never equal.

The Reverend’s Bottom Line;
Freedom Creek was recorded live on two-track analog in a Mississippi roadhouse, providing an authentic gospel fervor to the material. When King states “I’m the reverend tonight,” you know that he’s telling the truth, with every song a sermon and every performance touched by the divine.

King’s long-time backing band is as tight as a drum, providing a free-flowing undercurrent to King’s coarse vocals and steady guitar riffs. No less potent than the works of Robert Johnson, Charley Patton or Muddy Waters, King’s Freedom Creek is a significant collection of contemporary blues that are seeped in tradition even while looking towards the future. (Rooster Blues Records, released October 12, 2000)
By Reverend Keith A. Gordon.
Willie King follows his critically acclaimed album “Freedom Creek,” with an equally masterful recording of conscious blues that while highly entertaining, packs the punch of a Bob Marley song. On “Living in a New World,” King turns his insightful observation from statements on social injustice and prejudice to thoughts of redemption and optimism that despite everything going on around him, hope lies in the future.
King has mastered the bridge between conveying a meaningful message to the listener while never talking down to them and packing it was tight rhythms. This disk is a must have for any serious blues fan no matter what sub-genre they prefer and a sure winner of a few more W.C. Handy awards for Willie King.
By Charlie B. Dahan.
Willie King- (Vocals, Guitar);
Aaron T. “Hard Head” Hodge  (Vocals, Guitar);
Willie Lee Halbert  (Vocals);
Mike McCracken, Johnnie B. Smith, Al Kinnanam “Kenny” Smith  (Bass Guitar);
Willie James Williams  (Drums).
01. Second Coming 6:22
02. Uncle Tom 6:53
03. Pickens County Payback 6:13
04. Let’s Come Together (As One Community) 4:44
05. Pickens County Blues 2:36
06. Twenty Long Years 6:50
07. Stand up and Speak the Truth 5:07
08. The Sell-Out 8:55
09. Clean up the Ghetto 7:31
10. My Boss Man and My Baby 9:40
11. Why the Good Lord Sent Us the Blues 3:33

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