The Iceman aka The Razor Blade aka The Master of The Telecaster
October 1, 2011 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Hours of video performance in celebration of the birthday of Texas Blues guitar master Albert Collins, October 1, 1932 – November 24, 1993.
posted by madamjujujive (19 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I meant to note there is a good biog of Collins under the video clips. If you are a blues buff, that Classic Blues Video site is pretty kickass.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2011

"I get most of my sound from the amp that I use and I always like to use my own amp- a 100 watt Quad Reverb I've been using since 1972. I always put the volume all the way up on 10, treble on 10, middle on 10 and I don't use bass, intensity or none of that. Reverb I set at 4."

Bet he carries that heavy beast himself.
posted by three blind mice at 1:31 PM on October 1, 2011

Saw him at Antone's a bunch. He'd always walk out into the crowd, but he didn't trust wireless. He had a roadie play out, then reel back up a long-ass chord behind him as he made his way around the club.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:55 PM on October 1, 2011

He was almost as famous for his long-ass cord as he was for his tone. When I saw him at the old Antone's he went all the way out onto the sidewalk, and I remember wondering whether the people passing by in cars knew what was going on.
posted by swift at 2:15 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

You folks are lucky - someone I never saw live, sadly.

Re the cord and the roaming, the write-up has this little vignette:
He is also remembered for his humorous stage presence, which was recounted in the film documentary, Antones: Austin's Home of the Blues. Collins got into a long solo one night at Antone's, then left the building, still plugged in and playing. Several minutes after Collins returned to the stage, a pizza delivery man came in and gave Collins the pizza he had just ordered when he left the building.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:25 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

You folks are lucky - someone I never saw live, sadly.

I printed T-shirts for Antone's for a long time - probably 15 years. When I needed money and couldn't wait a few days, the best way to get paid was to go down to the club on Saturday night, and hang out until they counted the door around 3 am. At the time, it struck me as a pain, but I saw some great shows as a result. Stevie would show up for Collins' shows when he could -- he worshipped him & Buddy Guy, who also always put on a great show there.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:41 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Buddy Guy also did (or does!) the long-ass cord thing.

I saw him once and he wandered into the women's restroom while soloing.
posted by kenko at 2:51 PM on October 1, 2011

Blues people just seem to love mixing it up with the crowd. I had Little Ed of the Blues Imperials sit on my lap and play part of a song once. And most are more than happy to do a shot or two with you at the bar during a break. By and large, a very approachable group of performers.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:03 PM on October 1, 2011

I saw him once and he wandered into the women's restroom while soloing.

*furiously scribbles on bucket list*
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:28 PM on October 1, 2011

For the un-initiated things can get kind of confusing between

Albert Collins
no relation to Albert King
no relation to B.B. King
no relation to King Blues
no relation to Royal Albert Blues

I can not pin the date down but I remember that one day I realized I could actually tell the difference, in very distinct ways, between the various Alberts and Kings after a few notes of soloing - it was worth wading through the overlapping names
posted by victors at 4:15 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Albert's gone but Debbie Davies and Duke Robillard -- who you'll see in many of these videos from later in Albert's career-- are still Telecasting and sometimes Hellecasting.

Also, not my favourite Albert Collins performance, but in case it's not included above, here's some mainstream exposure for Albert in the late 1980s:
    Nobody leaves this place without singin' the blues.
posted by Herodios at 6:57 PM on October 1, 2011

I saw him in Denver maybe five or six times and always walked out of those shows with about 5% less hearing but a huge smile on my face. I bought my first Fender Quad because of him but I'll be damned if I could ever make it sound like Albert. Also, the guy plays in an open Dm tuning. Blows my mind.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:11 PM on October 1, 2011

I met him backstage at, strangely enough, an inaugural concert for George Bush the first - I was friends with a campaign staffer, although not a supporter myself. Campaign manager Lee Atwater was a big blues fan, so this particular concert included both the Vaughns, Dr. John, Sam and Dave, Billy Preston, Ron Wood, countless others - and Albert Collins. Thanks to my buddy I made it backstage, where I'm sure I stuck out like a sore thumb - 18-year-old college student in THAT bizarre crowd of big-wig Republican politicos and epic blues greatness. Of all the people I met that night, Albert was the coolest - took plenty of time to talk to me. I'll never forget the alligator skin cowboy boots he wore with his tuxedo, and the massive wad of bills he pulled out of his pocket as he pondered going out for drinks after the gig.

KevinSkomsvold, I asked him how he did it - he said it was all in the fingers, you have to ditch the pick.

later that night - like at 2am - my buddy and I went for a late dinner - as we walked in the restaurant I literally walked in to Mike Love of the Beach Boys, who was on his way out. It was quite a night of celebrity sightings.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:38 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I saw him play in Oak Park back in the eighties. In the middle of the set three teenagers and a little girl stormed the stage and started singing about babysitting. The girl was, for whatever reason, wearing a Thor helmet.
posted by jwhite1979 at 7:16 AM on October 2, 2011

That man put on one he'll of a live show. He is surely missed, but we have these great recordings and video by which to remember. Thank you Madam.
posted by caddis at 7:17 AM on October 2, 2011

jmwhite1979, see Herodios link to Nobody leaves this place without singin' the blues.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:07 AM on October 2, 2011


*&%$#@ iPad autocorrect
posted by caddis at 6:10 PM on October 2, 2011

caddis, I interpreted that as a very emphatic hell: he-e-e-e-e-e-e-ll = "he'll"
posted by madamjujujive at 5:36 AM on October 3, 2011

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