Albert King: Travelin’ To California

Vinyl reissue of King's 1962 album The Big Blues gets a new title and four bonus tracks from the same sessions


One of the founding fathers of electric blues and Memphis soul, Albert King had an unmatched sound and character and would go on to influence such giants as Otis Rush, Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield, Jimi Hendrix and many more.

Known to most as one of the “three kings” (four if you count Earl King), Albert bought his first guitar for $1.25 after listening to T-Bone Walker and began playing with a small group called The Groove Boys in the late 40s. By the 50s he started recording his first singles in Chicago and would later release his debut album via the King label (his only record on the label before moving to Stax) titled The Big Blues.

The Big Blues included sides taped as far back as 1959 with minor label Bobbin Records and is presented here as a reissue under the name Travelin’ To California, presumably because it features four bonus tracks (I’ll Do Anything You Say, Got To Be Some Changes Made, The Time Has Come and Blues At Sunrise) originating from the same 1962 sessions.

It’s always refreshing to find this music available on LP, allowing as it does a new audience to experience a guitarist who helped pave the way for Stevie Ray Vaughan and other major players.

Travelin’ To California; What Can I Do To Change Your Mind?; I Get Evil; Had You Told It Like It Was (It Wouldn’t Be Like It Is); This Morning; I Walked All Night Long; I’ll Do Anything You Say; Got To Be Some Changes Made (21.46) – Don’t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong; Let’s Have A Natural Ball; I’ve Made Nights By Myself; This Funny Feeling; Ooh-Ee Baby; Dyna Flow; The Time Has Come; Blues At Sunrise (23.05)
King (v, elg); Harold White (ts); Wilbur Thompson (ts); Freddie Robinette (bs); Lee Otis Right (b); Ike Turner (p); Kenny Birdell Rice (d). St. Louis, 1962.
Blues Joint 8011