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The King of Kings, part II
April 19, 2012 6:17 AM   Subscribe

It's 1966. A young, chubby, pompadoured, shiny-suited, Freddie King (previously) steps out onto the soundstage at a Dallas PBS station for a knockoff of Shindig, evidently aimed at the local black audience, judging by the middle-aged white jive-talking host. But the backup band leader is Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, and there are high-school girls in Go-Go boots ready to rumble. And then, in glorious, sweating, funky, color, Freddie blows the doors off. posted by unSane (35 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite

 
I couldn't have found a better way to start the day. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thanks.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:26 AM on April 19, 2012


For my money, Freddie King was the man. At that point, he was who Eric Clapton wanted to be when he grew up. A real crossover act that played to white and black audiences with the emerging guitar based funky/soul-y blues with some rock and roll sensibility. His loss was way too premature.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:31 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


THANK YOU!
posted by freakazoid at 6:43 AM on April 19, 2012


Nice!
posted by safetyfork at 6:47 AM on April 19, 2012


Isn't that dismissively-described "middle-aged white jive-talking host" Bill Allen?
posted by slkinsey at 7:06 AM on April 19, 2012


One of the first heartbreaks of my MetaFilter career was that someone had beat me to a Freddie King post.

This has torn open those old wounds. Now I've really got the blues...
posted by Trurl at 7:10 AM on April 19, 2012


Slamming post, unSane. Many thanks!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:12 AM on April 19, 2012


Very good, thanks.

Mentioning Clapton, King must be his biggest influence. But hearing this awesome 60s Gibson tone, I can never work out why Clapton started playing Stratocasters. Can anyone enlighten me?

I've owned a few Strats over the years and with that horrible usually blonde maple neck bolted on with the screws showing, and the strings going through the body like some torture device etc etc, they're more like pieces of furniture than a musical instrument.
posted by colie at 7:13 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


colie please reconsider
posted by toastchee at 7:15 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Clapton always claimed that Robert Johnson was his biggest influence. At least that's what he always said in Guitar Player and Guitar for the Practicing Musician back in the 80s when I was obsessed with him.

Also...HOT SHIT LAVENDER PIANO!! BOO YA!
posted by spicynuts at 7:17 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


And, regarding Clapton and the strat...it wasn't always that way. Take a look at this shot from the Yardbirds.

http://www.imixradio.com/eclapton%20001.jpg
posted by spicynuts at 7:19 AM on April 19, 2012


this one too
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_meq5Nn0BChk/TUzdRq0jm1I/AAAAAAAAAJw/UJAf3yi3Tf0/s1600/clapton-eric-guitar-5001103.jpg
posted by spicynuts at 7:21 AM on April 19, 2012


Isn't that dismissively-described "middle-aged white jive-talking host" Bill Allen?

Yes, yes it is. I couldn't find the name of the host of Beat!!!It on the intarwebs and he called himself 'Hoss', which threw me off. Great catch.
posted by unSane at 7:23 AM on April 19, 2012


I always love that Freddie, while a consummate showman in the way he could sell both a song and a solo onstage, subscribed to the 'just enough' notes school of thought. The gaps and stops in his playing are as important as the notes. And can you say dynamics?
posted by unSane at 7:25 AM on April 19, 2012


The TV Show, The!!!Beat, is worth an FPP in its own right if someone can dredge up enough clips. All 26 episodes are on DVD available here. Apparently Bill Allen was so distraught when it was cancelled that he got drunk and couldn't host the final episode.
posted by unSane at 7:26 AM on April 19, 2012


Dynamics.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:28 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Clapton always claimed that Robert Johnson was his biggest influence. At least that's what he always said in Guitar Player and Guitar for the Practicing Musician back in the 80s when I was obsessed with him.

That's what he's always claimed. But when he plays and sings, it was always Freddie King that came out.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:29 AM on April 19, 2012


yeah I never really understood it but my 15 year old self believed everything i read in those mags.
posted by spicynuts at 7:32 AM on April 19, 2012


>>Isn't that dismissively-described "middle-aged white jive-talking host" Bill Allen?

>Yes, yes it is. I couldn't find the name of the host of Beat!!!It on the intarwebs and he called himself 'Hoss', which threw me off. Great catch.


Bill Allen was hardly a Vince Fontaine "faux jive talking white guy" type. He was the real deal.

(Smoking tracks, BTW. Good find.)
posted by slkinsey at 7:51 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I never bought that Robert Johnson influence thing. I think a lot of those guys said that because they thought it was obscure and cool.
posted by unSane at 7:57 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I never bought that Robert Johnson influence thing. I think a lot of those guys said that because they thought it was obscure and cool.

Yeah but if you were 18 years old in leafy Surrey, UK, in 1963, all American blues guitarists were obscure and cool.
posted by colie at 8:10 AM on April 19, 2012


Here's some Clarence Gatemouth Brown from that The!!!!Beat TV show.

Some Little Milton. Earl Gaines.

But mostly it's an absolute treasure trove of mindblowing Northern Soul...

Robert Parker

Esther Philips and Etta James. Holy shit.

Mighty Hannibal.

Tammy McKnight.

Rodge Martin

Johnny Taylor

The Dolls

Mighty Joe Young (fantastic)

Barbara Lynn

Barbara Lynn playing guitar! And again!

The Radiants (lovely)

More Radiants (with fantastic synchronized dancing)

Eva Larse

Gerri Hall (miming, sadly)

Kelly Brothers

Jerri Taylor

Patti Labelle - stunning

The DVDs must be amazing.
posted by unSane at 8:34 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]




unSane...is it me or is that clearly lip-synched, that last one?
posted by spicynuts at 8:49 AM on April 19, 2012


what the???? is that the very first Rickenbacker on Earth that Gatemouth Brown is playing?
posted by spicynuts at 8:50 AM on April 19, 2012


Spicynuts, it looks like it.
posted by unSane at 9:34 AM on April 19, 2012


Yes. The inventor of this funky, but muscular, style of guitar work. Fun to watch and listen to.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:09 AM on April 19, 2012


This post is a perfect example of why, no matter how busy work gets, I must check mefi every day!

Great post, unSane - thank you.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:23 AM on April 19, 2012


But hearing this awesome 60s Gibson tone, I can never work out why Clapton started playing Stratocasters.

Might have something to do with this guy.
posted by swift at 5:18 PM on April 19, 2012


is that the very first Rickenbacker on Earth that Gatemouth Brown is playing?
No, I think this is the first Rickenbacker on earth.
It is pretty cool-looking, though. Look's like a 375 Capri.
posted by MtDewd at 8:56 PM on April 19, 2012


Awesome. Thank you.
posted by bardic at 9:56 PM on April 19, 2012


If it was 1966, PBS didn't exist yet.
posted by Yakuman at 10:27 PM on April 19, 2012


Yep, you're right. It was WFAA and by 1966 they were an ABC affiliate. According to this excellent blog post from the Dallas Post (which co-owns WFAA) the show was nationally syndicated.

AND AND AND -- someone created a YouTube channel to aggregate performances. Amazing stuff.
posted by unSane at 4:39 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


For example, here's Otis Redding introducing Garnet Mimms -- two of my favorite soul singers ever. This must have been the last episode, which Hoss was allegedly too drunk to present.
posted by unSane at 4:43 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In 2003, I was visiting my mom in Kelowna, BC. I was at a bar with a couple of friends and I was dancing, even though it was a Tuesday night. A man in town from Detroit on business was sitting and drinking by himself. We somehow struck up a conversation and started talking about music. He said Freddie King was his favourite artist and when I admitted to having never heard King, the man ran out to his car to get a cd and discman. He played me "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" and told me to keep the cd because he fell in love with me a little for dancing alone in the bar. It was the most charming interaction I've ever had with a stranger in a bar.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 3:43 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


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