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jeudi 5 octobre 2017

ALBERT COLLINS: Blues Guitar Masters Vol. 5

ALBERT COLLINS: Blues Guitar Masters Vol. 5

Né dans une famille de métayers de Leona (Texas) le 1 octobre 1932, Collins commence très jeune à jouer autour de Houston, apprend la guitare en voyant Frankie Lee Sims et surtout Guitar Slim à qui il empruntera une grande partie de son jeu de scène. Il écume les bars du Third Ward et développe un style très personnel: courtes notes claires et hautes qui surgissent d'un fond de basse très épais, capodastre fixé très haut sur le manche et emploi systématique des gammes mineures. On retrouve dans le jeu de Collins de plus en plus sur une Telecaster, des traces du style traditionnel du Texas central, parcimonieux et économique mais cinglant et expressif auquel s'ajoutent les influences de Gatemouth Brown et B.B. King.
            A la fin des années 50, Albert Collins enregistre pour de petits labels locaux comme Hall-Way ou Kangaroo une série de pièces instrumentales qui ont un certain succès local: Freeze, Defrost, Frosty..., succession de riffs aux notes précises et tendues qui créent une atmosphère élégante et "glacée" qui restera la marque d'Albert Collins. Ces disques deviennent dans les années 60 de petits classiques, révérés des amateurs. La revue britannique Blues Unlimited publie plusieurs articles sur Albert, attirant l'attention du nouveau public international du blues. Entre temps et grâce à Bob Hite, le leader des Canned Heat, Collins a émigré autour de San Francisco à Palo Alto et Bob le présente au Fillmore West et lui fait enregistrer une série d'albums essentiellement instrumentaux pour le major Imperial/ Liberty.
Mais ces albums se vendent assez mal, ne sont pas très bien accueillis des amateurs et les années 70 sont très difficiles pour Collins. Auréolé de légende mais méconnu du grand public, sans label, il végète, pilier modeste des petits bars de Houston jusqu'à San Francisco. Heureusement, à la fin des 70s, Bruce Iglauer l'enregistre pour son label Alligator, le fait venir à Chicago et l'entoure des meilleurs musiciens de la ville (A.C. Reed, Aron Burton, le batteur Casey Jones). Surtout, Iglauer convainc Collins de chanter. Même si son timbre est léger et peu puissant, sa voix a de la personnalité. Il n'est certes pas le blues shouter qu'il se rêvait mais il est un "blues whisperer" très efficace.
            Ajoutant la souplesse de son style texan à la solidité du Chicago blues, Collins enregistre pour Alligator une série d'albums remarquables tels Ice pickin', Frostbite, Don't lose your cool, Cold snap, Frozen alive . Ils permettent enfin à Albert une carrière internationale. Son dynamisme, sa verve et son sens de la scène lui valent une forte réputation dans le monde entier, du Japon à Montreux où il enflamme le festival de jazz. Il signe pour Pointblank, un label tourné vers le public du rock, une série de disques qui connaissent un grand succès commercial.
            Hélas, atteint d'un cancer du poumon, il décède à Las Vegas le 24 novembre 1993
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

            Born in a poor farming family at Leona (Tx), 1st October 1932, Albert Collins starts at a very young age to play guitar under the influence of several bluesmen he had the opportunity to watch, mainly Frankie Lee Sims and Guitar Slim from whom he will borrow his flamboyant showmanship. After moving in Houston's Third Ward, Albert will cut his teethes in small clubs and private parties, building a very personal guitar style: short, precise, clear and high musical notes emerging generally from a background of heavy basses, his capo fixed very high on the fretboard with a frequent use of minor scales. One can anyway find on this very original style (more and more on a Telecaster guitar) some borrowings to the old traditional Central Texas blues guitar playing, parsimonious but scathing and very expressive. Later on Albert will add many other influences from Gatemouth Brown, Fulson or B.B. King.
Albert Collins starts recording from 1958 for tiny local labels like Hall-Way or Kangaroo, essentially instrumental riffs which generate an impression of elegant and "icy"' atmosphere (Freeze, Defrost, Frosty... ) that will stay as Collins' trademark. Those 45s gain some small success and allows Collins to have more gigs. But moreover they raise a lot of interest in Europe, particularly thanks to the British review Blues Unlimited which feature several raving articles about Collins' blues. Bob Hite, leader of the rock blues group the Canned Heat, is among those new fans and he persuades Albert to try his luck in California. Living from now on at Palo Alto, Collins can play on much popular clubs and scenes like the Fillmore West. Still thanks to Hite, Albert records a string of albums for the major label Imperial/ Liberty, once again mostly instrumentals.
            Unfortunately, those LPs don't sell too well and are not even very well received by the new international blues audience. The 1970's are very harsh for Albert who drifts from small label to another, playing in Houston and San Francisco clubs. Until he meets Alligator's wise producer Bruce Iglauer who brings Albert in Chicago and records him backed by some of the best Chicago sidemen (A.C. Reed, Aron Burton, Casey Jones), issuing several first rate albums on Bruce's label Alligator. This time - and despite being reluctant to do it - Collins sings or talks on several tracks and even he his certainly not Bobby Bland, his whispering nasal singing style has much effect. Ice Pickin', Frostbite, Don't lose your cool, Cold snap or Frozen alive are great albums, mixing Texas and Chicago blues styles for the better.
            Albert then starts to tour around the USA, Japan and particularly Europe where his constantly great shows win him a strong following among blues and rock fans. His last records for the Pointblank label are much more turned towards the rock audience and bring him an important success.
            Unfortunately, suffering from lung cancer, Albert Collins dies in Las Vegas on 24 December 1993.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

ALBERT COLLINS/ Early discography
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Frank Mitchell, tpt; Henry Hayes, a-sax; Cleotis Arch, t-sax; Herman Hopkins, pno; Bill Johnson, bs; Herbert Henderson, dms. Houston, Tx. 1958
01. Freeze
02. Collins' shuffle
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Henry Hayes, a-sax; Cleotis Arch, t-sax; Walter Mc Neil, pno; Bill Johnson, bs; Herbert Henderson, dms. Houston, Tx. 5 December 1962
03. Albert's alley
04. Defrost
05. Homesick
06. Sippin' soda
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Frank Mitchell, a-sax; Henry Hayes, a-sax; Cleotis Arch, t-sax; Walter Mc Neil, pno; Bill Johnson, bs; Herbert Henderson, dms. Houston, Tx. 22 July 1963
07. Frosty
08. Tremble
09. Thaw out
10. Backstroke
Albert Collins, vcl/g; band. Houston, Tx. 1965
11. Sno Cone I & II
12. Dyin' flu
13. Hot n' cold
14. Don't lose your cool
15. Frost bite
16. Cool aide
17. Shiver and shake
18. Icy blue
19. I don't know
Albert Collins, vcl/g; band. Houston, Tx. février 1968
20. Taking my time
21. Cooking Catfish
22. Soulroad
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Mike Rosso, og; Sonny Boyan, t-sax; Bill Johnson, bs; Larry Daniels, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. May 1968
23. Do the Sissy
24. Collins mix
25. Let's get it together I & II
26. Got a good thing going on
27. Leftovers
28. Doin' my thing
29. Ain't got time

30. Turnin' on
31. Whatcha say
32. Puchin'
33. Stump poker
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Harmonica Fats, hca; horns; James Hooker Brown, og/pno; Charles Freeman, g; Tommy McClure, bs; Robert Tarrant, dms. Nashville, Tn. July 1969
34. Harris County lineup
35. Conversation with Collins
36. Jawing
37. Grapeland gossip
38. Chaterbox
39. Trash talkin'
40. Baby what you want me to do?
41. Lip service
42. Talking Slim blues
43. Back yard back talk
44. Tongue lashing
45. And then it started raining
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Bobby Alexis, og; band. Nashville, Tn. 1970
46. Soul food
47. Jam it up
48. Do what you want to do
49. Black bottom bayou
50. Junkey monkey
51. 69 Underpass Roadside Inn
52. I need you so
53. Bitsy
54. Cool and collards
55. Blend down and jam
56. Sweet'n'sour
57. Swamp sauce

20 commentaires:

  1. Albert Collins: Blues guitar masters Vol. 5




  2. Thank you. You just filled a big hole in my AC collection.

  3. Thanks Gerard
    I have most of Albert's recordings on CD and some D/Ls
    But I didn't have the earliest recordings (CD 1 tracks 1 to 6) and appreciate these and your enthusiastic research

  4. Merci, Gerard.
    Brooklyn, NY

  5. You've really outdone yourself this time Gerard. So good to have all these early recordings gathered together in one place. As always many thanks.

  6. Thank you very much Gerard. Lovely to have these tracks together and see the way he developed his playing.

  7. Oh Man...what a wonderful gift to wake up to...thanks mucho Señor Gerard for this

  8. Thank you Gerard for this fine overview of Alberts early work.
    Jimi Hendrix from way back in 1968 said of Albert Collins "There's one cat I'm still trying to get across to people. He is really good, one of the best guitarists in the world."

  9. A Mighty Fine Compi Gérard. Thank you.

  10. magnifique compile
    il semble que Cookin'Catfish est la version Mono de Doin'My Thing

  11. Many thanks from New Jersey!

  12. Merci à Gérard pour cette nouvelle offrande. Je les collecte régulièrement et je profite de l'occasion pour le remercier chaleureusement.
    Ceci dit, il me semble qu'il y a un peu de mic-mac dans l'ordre des 20 premiers morceaux.
    En comparant avec mon CD Truckin' with, Frosbite devient Tremble, Tremble devient Thaw out, etc.
    Par ailleurs, les morceaux 2 et 7 se ressemblent furieusement (c'est bien le Shuffle, amis en tout cas pas Frosty). En revanche, pas de nouvelle de Shiver 'n Shake, qui shake vraiment bien.

    1. Merci de ces remarques. cette compilation provient soit directement de 45t soit de copies .mp3 données par quelques collectionneurs généreux, ce qui peut expliquer ces erreurs. L'idéal serait que vous postiez cet album "Truckin' with" que je n'ai pas soit pour tout le monde ici soit via mon mail perso que vous trouverez sur mon site. Afin de procéder aux corrections.

  13. I was going to state college and around 1969 got to see Albert Collins perform at the cafeteria. Never forget him walking around the chairs and tables with what seemed like an endless guitar cable. Will never forget that. Thank You. Also a little off the subject saw The Doors perform in the basketball gymnasium.

  14. J'ai découvert ce blog il y a peu . Je possede le bouquin " l'encyclopedie du blues "v de G H acheté en 1980 . Bravo Mr Herzhaft et merci pour tout ce que vous faites pour cette musique . PAT

  15. Can't imagine how I missed this. Your posts are always appreciated! With gratitude......