Thursday, 7 February 2013
Earl King born 7 February 1934
Earl King (February 7, 1934 – April 17, 2003) was an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter, most active in blues music. A composer of well known standards such as "Come On" (covered by Jimi Hendrix) and Professor Longhair's "Big Chief", he is an important figure in New Orleans R&B music.
Highly respected around his Crescent City home base as both a performer and a songwriter, guitarist Earl King was a prime New Orleans R&B force for more than four decades. Born Earl Johnson, the youngster considered the platters of Texas guitarists T-Bone Walker and Gatemouth Brown almost as fascinating as the live performances of local luminaries Smiley Lewis and Tuts Washington. King met his major influence and mentor, Guitar Slim, at the Club Tijuana, one of King's favorite haunts (along with the Dew Drop, of course), and the two became fast friends. Still billed as Earl Johnson, the guitarist debuted on wax in 1953 on Savoy with "Have You Gone Crazy" (with pal Huey "Piano" Smith making the first of many memorable supporting appearances on his platters).
Johnson became Earl King upon signing with Specialty the next year (label head Art Rupe intended to name him King Earl, but the typesetter reversed the names). "A Mother's Love," King's first Specialty offering, was an especially accurate Guitar Slim homage produced by Johnny Vincent, who would soon launch his own label, Ace Records, with King one of his principal artists. King's first Ace single, the seminal two-chord south Louisiana blues "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights" proved a national R&B hit (despite a soundalike cover by Johnny "Guitar" Watson). Smith's rolling piano undoubtedly helped make the track a hit.
King remained with Ace through the rest of the decade, waxing an unbroken string of great New Orleans R&B sides with the unparalleled house band at Cosimo's studio. But he moved over to Imperial to work with producer Dave Bartholomew in 1960, cutting the classic "Come On" (also known as "Let the Good Times Roll") and 1961's humorous "Trick Bag," and managing a second chart item in 1962 with "Always a First Time." King wrote stand-out tunes for Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, and Lee Dorsey during the '60s.
Although a potential 1963 pact with Motown was scuttled at the last instant, King admirably rode out the rough spots during the late '60s and '70s.
In the early 1980s, he met Hammond Scott, co-owner of Black Top Records, and started to record for the label. The first album Glazed, backed up by Roomful of Blues was released in 1986, and a second album, Sexual Telepathy came in 1990. It featured Snooks Eaglin as a guest on two tracks, and also Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters backed him up on some tracks. His third from the label Hard River To Cross (1993) was backed by George Porter, Jr., David Torkanowsky, and Herman V. Ernest, III.
In 2001, he was hospitalized for an illness during a tour to New Zealand, however, that did not stop him from performing. In December of the same year, he toured Japan, and he continued to perform off and on locally in New Orleans until his death.
He died on April 17, 2003, from diabetes related complications, just a week before the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. His funeral was held during the Festival period on April 30, and many musicians including Dr. John, Leo Nocentelli and Aaron Neville were in attendance.
Earl King will always be remembered as a quirky, idiosyncratic writer who loved word play and turning “second line” rhythms inside and out. A true pillar of the New Orleans R&B community for decades, he worked largely behind the scenes, but seemingly was acknowledged only by his peers as a true architect behind the music. But, unfortunately as in the case of so many artists, his true genius will not be universally appreciated and recognized until well after his passing. Earl gave it his best shot but just couldn’t hang in there long enough to see it happen.
(Info edited mainly from Wikipedia & All Music)
Here's a clip of Earl singing "The things I Used to do."
No other info I'm afraid of venue or date.