Archive for the Willie KING Category

Willie KING & The Liberators – Living in a New World 2002

Posted in BLUES, Willie KING on December 24, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Willie KING & The Liberators – Living in a New World 2002

Blues

You wouldn’t expect songs about social injustice and the struggle for racial unity to boom out of an Alabama juke joint, but singer-guitarist Willie King is as much activist as bluesman, with a history of community work dating back to the ’60s. He’s also a warm-voiced singer with the soulful phrasing of a country preacher and a knack for plucking raw tones and economical tunes from the heart of his six string. His new album combines beauty and intellect without sacrificing joy. Even while King begs “Will you please hear my call/America, let’s come together” in “America,” the groove slinks around the dance floor and gets goosed by a sweet-toned solo that fades into a symbolic coupling with a funky sax. “You So Evil,” King’s growlin’ tribute to Howlin’ Wolf, and “The Stomper,” an ode to a lead-footed dancer in an Arkansas juke joint King frequents, are pure shots of roughhouse blues.
But King’s best when he’s speaking his mind. And he’s never clearer than on the riveting “Terrorized,” which weds a one-chord, John Lee Hooker riff–King elaborating on it with little flurries of sliding melodies and fills that beckon to Mother Africa–to the lines “Talk about terror/Peoples, I been terrorized all my days … You took my name and you left me in chains/Wouldn’t let me go to school/And you know I didn’t know how to read or write.” King’s last disc, 2000’s Freedom Creek, suffered from shaky musicianship and a lack of energy, but this time, his group and arrangements are as ironclad as his convictions. And that makes this one of the year’s best blues CDs.
By Ted Drozdowski.
**
He definitely rings a bell when it comes to comparing him to RL, but I hate to say this…HE IS BETTER THAN RL BURNSIDE. His soulful voice and lyrics along with his back up vocalist brings a Curtis Mayfield meets Howlin Wolf sound.
My favorite track is definitely The Stomper. It has that dirty blues feel that makes you want to go down south to the nearest Juke Joint and get down. The artwork for this album is also superb.
Definitely a must get for any blues/soul fan!
**
Though the folk revivalists of the 1960s venerated blues as a form of proto-protest music, it was rare to hear the music turned into an overtly incendiary forum. As political revolutionary, former MC5 manager, and New Orleans disc jockey John Sinclair points out in his richly perceptive liner notes, the blues were always conscious of a race struggle, but the force of the music was always directed away from the topic. This created a dramatic tension in the music that, in some ways, is absent from Willie King’s politically sparked music. Even then, the lyrics aren’t so obviously topical that the songs dip into cliché — at least, any more than the blues usually do. That said, King’s overtones never fall into protest folk mumbo-jumbo either. Instead, he uses the two lyrical approaches (political music and the blues) to inform each other and make each sound more palatable than either have in a long while. The Liberators are a fairly groomed ensemble. The music doesn’t sound glossy so much as finely polished. There’s not too much edge to it. And though the band does manage to effortlessly swing, their playing rarely seems dynamic and alive.
By Jesse Jarnow.
**
Willie King- (Vocals, Guitar);
Willie Lee Halbert- (Vocals);
Aaron “Hardhead” Hodge- (Guitar, Background Vocals);
Kevin Hayes- (Alto Sax, Tambourine);
Henry Smith- (Piano, Keyboards, Organ);
Robert Corbett- (Bass);
Willie James Williams- (Drums).
**
01. Living in a New World  5:36
02. Crawlin’ Blues  6:00
03. The Stomper  4:21
04. America  4:49
05. You So Evil  6:52
06. All Tied Up  3:47
07. You Got to Have Love  4:00
08. Ain’t Gonna Work  5:26
09. Is It My Imagination  2:39
10. Terrorized  4:20
11. The Blues Life (monologue)  4:52
**
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Willie KING & The Liberators – Freedom Creek 2000

Posted in BLUES, Willie KING on December 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Willie KING & The Liberators – Freedom Creek 2000

Blues

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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Willie KING – I Am The Blues 2000

Posted in BLUES, Willie KING on December 13, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Willie KING – I Am The Blues 2000

Blues

Twice Living Blues Artist of the Year, Willie King’s first self-produced CD is a masterpiece. Get on down to the real deal, juke joint boogie blues . . .

Although Willie King mostly plays in and around his home in Pickens County, Alabama, he is gaining an international reputation for his vibrant boogie juke joint blues and the power of his message. This is the second year that he has won the prestigious Living Blues Magazine “Blues Artist of the Year”
Willie King was born in Prairie Point, MS, in 1943. After his father left, Willie and his siblings was raised by his grandparents, local sharecroppers. Music was important to the King family – Willie’s grandfather was a gospel singer, and his absent father was an amateur blues musician. Young Willie made a diddley bo by nailing a baling wire to a tree in the yard. By age 9 he had a one-string guitar that he could bring indoors to play at night.
In 1967, Willie King moved to Chicago in an attempt to make more money than he could down South. After a year spent on the West and South Side, he returned to Old Memphis, Alabama, just across the border from the Mississippi Prairie. A salesman – of shoes, cologne, and other frivolities – Willie traveled the rural roads hawking goods and talking politics. Choosing not to work under the “old system” of unequal treatment, King joined the civil rights movement near the end of the decade, eventually associating with the left-wing Highlander Center.
By the late 1970s, King was writing what he calls “struggling songs” – political blues tunes that he used to educate his audiences. As King explains “through the music I could reach more people, get ’em to listen.” Yet as his rollicking blues style attests, King still knows how to have a good time. He played the juke circuit and bootlegged whiskey on the side, resorting to popular blues covers when the “struggling songs” upset a close-minded audience.
In 1987, a chance meeting at a festival in Eutaw, Alabama, blew Rooster Blues founder Jim O’Neal away: According to O’Neal, King’s “juke-joint musical style and political lyrics knocked me down.” The two kept in touch for the next 13 years, during which O’Neal relocated his label, and King concentrated on his own community, forging relationships with local youth through a blues education program, through his organization The Rural Members Association.
The Rural Members Association has sponsored classes in music, woodworking, food preservation, and other African-American traditions, and has provided transportation, legal assistance, and other services for the needy over the past two decades. In recent years he’s been sponsoring a festival on the creek, which is as The Freedom Creek Festival. Willie explains, “We was targetin’ at tryin’ to get all walks of life, different people to come down and kinda be with us in reality down there, you know. Let’s get back to reality, in the woods . . . mix and mingle . . . get to know each other. Get up to have a workin’ relationship, try to bring peace . . .”
“Freedom Creek,” Willie King’s debut album on Rooster Blues Records, soon followed. Not only was the album acclaimed by critics worldwide, but received awards from Living Blues Magazine for Best Male Blues Artist (2001), Best Blues Album (2000) and Best Contemporary Blues Album (2000).
King’s follow up, Living In a New World, is nothing short of spectacular. Produced by Jim O’Neal and recorded at Easley studio in Memphis, the album is a hybrid of pure blues, rock, funk and soul. The album reminds the listener of Curtis Mayfield while allowing RL Burnside fans to rejoice as well. Blues scholar, political activist and DJ John Sinclair, who shares Willie’s worldview of politics and its effect on everyday life, penned the liner notes.
**
01. Strolling With Willie (3:43)
02. Betty’s Place (5:33)
03. I Am The Blues (5:14)
04. Crawlin’ (5:32)
05. All Tied Up (6:31)
06. Shake It (6:13)
07. You’re Going To Worry (5:57)
08. The Wolf is Back (5:41)
09. Willie’s Testament (2:28)
**
NoPassword
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Willie KENT And His Gents – Live at BLUES In Chicago 1993

Posted in BLUES, Willie KING on December 5, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Willie KENT And His Gents – Live at BLUES In Chicago 1993
Chicago Blues Session Vol. 30

Blues

The preeminent Chicago blues bassist of the postwar era, Willie Kent was the city’s last surviving link to the Mississippi Delta tradition, backing a who’s who of immortals including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Junior Parker as well as fronting his own long-running band, the Gents. Born in Inverness, MS, on February 24, 1936, Kent was the product of a sharecropping family, and was enlisted to pick cotton at the age of six. While local musician Dewitt Munson afforded his first exposure to the blues, as a teen he began dialing in Helena, AR’s influential radio station KFFA, where the King Biscuit Time broadcast served as his introduction to formative influences including Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Robert Nighthawk.

By age 11, Kent was a surreptitious fixture at the Highway 61 club the Harlem Inn, catching acts headlined by Howlin’ Wolf and Ike Turner. Two years later, he left home for Memphis, and after a brief tenure at a Florida gas station, he migrated to Chicago at the age of 16. There Kent bought his first guitar, which he loaned to musician Willie Hudson in exchange for lessons. In 1959, he joined Hudson’s band Ralph & the Red Tops as a chauffeur, occasionally appearing on-stage as a vocalist. Whenever Hudson’s bassist brother showed up for a gig too drunk to perform, Kent was summoned as his replacement, eventually taking over the position for good. Upon joining Little Milton’s band in 1961, Kent’s notoriety grew, and he became a steady presence at Kansas City Red’s legendary “Blue Monday” parties. Kent was renowned as much for his talent as for his professionalism, a rare commodity in the blues world, and he regularly sat in with greats spanning from Muddy Waters to Little Walter. After leaving Little Milton, he tenured with Arthur Stallworth & the Chicago Playboys as the 1960s came to a close, followed by stints in support of Hip Linkchain and Jimmy Dawkins.

After returning from a European tour, Dawkins relinquished his headlining gig at the West Side blues club Ma Bea’s Lounge to Kent, who for the first time assembled his own band, Sugar Bear & the Beehives, with guitarist Willie James Lyons and drummer Robert Plunkett. Ma Bea’s would serve as the setting for Kent’s debut LP, 1975’s live release Ghetto, and remained his home for over six years. In 1982, he returned to sideman duties, joining Eddie Taylor and contributing to his acclaimed 1985 swan song Bad Boy. After Taylor died that Christmas, Kent recruited his guitarist Johnny B. Moore and drummer Tim Taylor to form Willie Kent & the Gents: as their fellow bluesmen adopted an increasingly slick sensibility inspired by commercial R&B, the Gents championed the classic Delta 12-bar tradition, emerging as a favorite of blues purists at home and abroad. After a series of heart ailments forced Kent to undergo triple bypass surgery in 1989, he spent his recovery examining his life and career, finally abandoning his longtime trucking gig in favor of pursuing music full-time. I’m What You Need, his first solo LP in 14 years, soon followed on the Big Boy label and proved the first in a flurry of releases that next included his Delmark debut, Ain’t It Nice, which earned the Library of Congress Award for Best Folk/Blues Album of 1991. Kent also signed to the Austrian label Wolf for a pair of LPs, 1991’s King of Chicago’s West Side Blues and Live at B.L.U.E.S. in Chicago. With so many new records to his credit, it was inevitable that Kent finally earned the attention of blues fans and critics across the globe, and in 1995, he won the W.C. Handy Award for Best Blues Instrumentalist, Bass.

Two years later, he earned the award again, and went on to claim the prize in nine consecutive years. Kent also notched five consecutive Most Outstanding Blues Musician, Bass honors from the magazine Living Blues, and with 1998’s Delmark release Make Room for the Blues took home Chicago’s Album of the Year prize. In early 2005, Kent was diagnosed with cancer, but continued his busy live schedule in spite of chemotherapy treatments. He lost his battle with the disease on March 2, 2006, just a week past his 70th birthday.
**
Willie Kent- Vocals, Bass;
Johnny B. Moore- Guitar, Guest Vocal on Looking Good
Jake Dawson- Guitar;
Ken Barker- Piano, Organ;
Cleo Williams- Drums;
Eddie Shaw- sax and Guest Vocal on Sadi;
Bonnie Lee- Guest Vocal on I´m  Good
**
01. Mother In Law Blues 7:40
02. A Man And His Blues 7:32
03. All My Life 7:23
04. Looking Good 5:22
05. Ship Made Of Paper 4:40
06. Black Night 4:30
07. I’m Good 5:29
08. Dirty Work Going On 7:20
09. Rock Me 4:45
10. Sadie 6:21
11. Tin Pan Alley 5:44
12. If You Got To Love Somebody 6:04
**

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Willie KING – Jukin’ at Betties 2004

Posted in BLUES, Willie KING on November 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Willie KING – Jukin’ at Betties 2004

Blues

Recorded live at Mississippi juke joint Bettie’s Place and nominated for the 2006 Blues Music Award “Traditionl Album of the Year.”
**
Willie King was born in Prairie Point, MS, in 1943, and raised in Alabama. After his father left the home, Willie and his siblings were raised by his grandparents, who were local sharecroppers. Music was important to the King family – Willie’s grandfather was a gospel singer, and his absent father was an amateur blues musician. Young Willie made his first guitar, a diddley bo, by nailing a baling wire to a tree in the yard. By age 9, he had a one-string guitar that he could bring indoors to play at night.In 1967, Willie King moved to Chicago in an attempt to make more money than he could down South. He also spent a lot of time with the great blues performers of the 50’s including Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, who along with John Lee Hooker have been King’s greatest influences. After a year spent on the West and South Sides, he returned to Old Memphis, Alabama, just across the border from the Mississippi Prairie. A salesman – of shoes, cologne, and other frivolities – Willie traveled the rural roads hawking goods and talking politics. Choosing not to work under the “old system” of unequal treatment, King joined the civil rights movement near the end of the decade.
In 1987, a chance meeting at a festival in Eutaw, Alabama, blew Rooster Blues founder Jim O’Neal away: According to O’Neal, King’s “juke-joint musical style and political lyrics knocked me down.” The two kept in touch for the next 13 years, during which O’Neal relocated his label, and King concentrated on his own community, forging relationships with local youth through a blues education program, through his organization The Rural Members Association.

The Rural Members Association has sponsored classes in music, woodworking, food preservation, and other African-American traditions, and has provided transportation, legal assistance, and other services for the needy over the past two decades. In recent years he’s been sponsoring a festival on the creek, which is known as The Freedom Creek Festival. Willie explains, “We was targetin’ at tryin’ to get all walks of life, different people to come down and kinda be with us in reality down there, you know. Let’s get back to reality, in the woods . . . mix and mingle . . . get to know each other. Get up to have a workin’ relationship, try to bring peace . . .”

“Freedom Creek,” Willie King’s debut album on Rooster Blues Records, was King’s powerful introduction into the wider music and blues world. Not only was the album acclaimed by critics worldwide, it also received awards from Living Blues Magazine for Best Male Blues Artist (2001), Best Blues Album (2000) and Best Contemporary Blues Album (2000).

King’s follow up, “Living In a New World”, is nothing short of spectacular. Produced by Jim O’Neal and recorded at Easley Studio in Memphis, the album reminds the listener of Curtis Mayfield while allowing RL Burnside fans to rejoice as well. This CD won Living Blues Magazine awards for Best Song and Best Cover Art, and W. C. Handy nominations for Traditional Blues Album of the Year and Blues Song of the Year.

In addition to the two CD’s on the Rooster Blues label, Willie has previously released two independently recorded CDs – “Walkin’ the Walk, Talkin’ the Talk” which was recorded with local Alabama bluesman “Birmingham” George Conner, and the widely acclaimed” I Am The Blues.”

Rocking juke joint blues from award-winning Alabama bluesman Willie King. Recorded live at his favorite venue, Bettie’s Place, down a dirt road in rural Mississippi, Bettie’s Place has been described by Living Blues Magazine as “one of the best juke joints in the state,” and King has been playing there regularly for many years.
This CD is produced by Willie King and Rick Asherson, his harmonica and keyboard player from London, England. Bettie’s Place has featured in several documentaries, including Martin Scorsese’s film about the blues “Feel Like Coming Home,” and it was during this film shoot that King and Asherson connected with the outstanding sound engineer Sam Watson. Between them they have produced a ripping, rolling, rollicking CD that captures King’s down-home juke joint blues in it’s original and authentic setting.
**
01. Jukin’ At Bettie’s 6:18
02. It Takes a Good Woman 8:08
03. That’s What the Blues Is All About 4:29
04. Troubles to the Wind 8:14
05. Don’t Blame It On Me 8:24
06. The Real Deal 6:57
07. Systematic Train 6:59
08. Back to the Woods 6:36
**

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