When it comes to Freddie King, I consider myself twice blessed. It was a real pleasure to play the blues with him for the many, many years we shared the stage. As wonderful as that was, having him as my big brother was even better!
Our mother and uncles were a great inspiration to Freddie and me as we grew up hearing their singing and guitar playing. Even as a kid, Freddie knew he wanted to be a musician. We used to race home from school to catch the last fifteen minutes of the daily show "In the Groove" on our old 'sometimes' radio - sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't! Our favorite artists of the day were Louis Jordan and Charles Brown. When my father told Freddie that the people he worked for had an old guitar they would give him if he worked for it, Freddie jumped at the opportunity! It meant working in a Texas slaughterhouse, which wasn't pretty, but Freddie got to work and earned himself that guitar!
The idea for this tribute CD began a number of years ago, and much of the work was done before Hurricane Katrina. When Katrina hit, like so many of the places in New Orleans, the recording studio was flooded. Thanks to the efforts of Marc Hewitt of Sound Services Studio, our hard work was preserved when he rescued the recordings and evacuated to Florida. Post-hurricane recovery in New Orleans has been a long and uphill battle, but we were finally able to pick up the pieces and resume work on this project once again. This CD is long overdue and I am pleased to be able to share it, at last!
Rather than trying to play like Freddie on this CD (because there is only one Freddie King), I wanted to celebrate him in my own way by choosing some of the songs we liked and also using techniques I've learned over the years. I've been fortunate to play with legendary soul, blues and gospel groups, including Dee Clark and The Original Soul Stirrers. Freddie and I both loved the harmonies used in gospel music, but there hasn't been much of that style used in blues. One exception is The O'Neal Twins who backed Freddie on his recording of "Trouble in Mind" which we both loved. I thought it would be fitting to incorporate some of those harmonies into my arrangements on this CD.
A few of the tracks I selected deserve special mention. When we originally played "Hideaway" there was a break we used which didn't make it onto the Federal recording. I decided to include it on this CD, since it's the way we first put the song together. Marva Wright's vocals on "Tore Down" are her last CD appearance before her passing in 2010. "Lowdown in Lodi" was a favorite of Freddie's. He and I had a great time when we toured with John Fogerty and Credence Clearwater Revival.
Freddie was taken away from us too soon but his music continues to live on. I'm so proud that Freddie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012! He was the entry into the "Early Influence" category which recognizes his contributions to modern electric blues. He has finally taken his place beside many giants whose careers were shaped by Freddie's influence. It is an honor to present this CD in loving tribute to my brother, Freddie King.