The Best Of King Curtis 1952-1961 - Saxophone titan King Curtis gets the stellar showcase he deserves on Dave Penny’s latest career-defining set for Fantastic Voyage, continuing the roll which has seen the label raise the benchmark for knowledgeable, expertly-annotated compilations. Over three discs and nearly 100 tracks, Wail Man Wail! traverses the unmistakable tones of the late Curtis Ousley after he arrived from Texas in New York City in 1952, winning amateur night at Harlem’s Apollo before embarking on a recording career which took him to several seminal independent labels and bands with the likes of Lester Young and Lionel Hampton. He settled in New York for 17 years, declaring himself King Curtis and quickly making a name for roaring instrumentals and enhancing countless sessions.
1969 album from a certified blues master. Well, actually, we didn’t ask to see his certificate of mastery, but we respect Freddie King enough to know that he wouldn’t release an album entitled Freddie King is a Blues Master if he couldn’t back it up that kind of bold claim. Also, in case this piece happens to be your introduction to the album in question, allow us to assure you that we’ve heard it, and there’s definitely no case of false advertising in play with this album.
Sweet electric blues from Freddie King – and a record that features a surprising set of arrangements from Donny Hathaway! The album's more Freddie's than Donny's, but it's a great meeting of the two talents under the Atlantic-endorsed Cotillion banner – served up with an unusual studio lineup that includes Frank Wess and George Coleman on tenor sax, Willie Bridges on baritone, Ernie Royal on trumpets, and Cornell Dupree on rhythm guitar. The horns keep things full and soulful, and make the album a bit less rock-directed than some of King's other efforts from the 70s – and at some of the hipper moments, you can definitely hear some deeper sophistication on the charts that clearly marks Hathaway's presence. King Curtis arranged one track on the set – "Woke Up This Morning" – and other Donny-arranged tunes include "Yonder Wall", "Stumble", "I Wonder Why", "What'd I Say", "The Things I Used To Do", and "My Feeling For The Blues".