Earl King

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shortfatb
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Earl King

Postby shortfatb » 26 Jun 2009, 11:06

Found Earl King on Spotify by the usual process of linking various listens together and I'm really enjoying some of his stuff, great piano playing behind him on early stuff too. Do others know anything about him, where does he fit in with the real greats and is he rated?

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Re: Earl King

Postby straw mimsy » 26 Jun 2009, 12:15

I thought this was going to be about Schubert-- with this and the Rigoletto thread, I wondered if somehow there'd been a very strange BCB revolution going on. But no, more talk of people I don't really know beyond the name-- same as usual, Phew!

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Re: Earl King

Postby greenwichpaul » 26 Jun 2009, 13:05

A wonderful guy, and a typical New Orleans maverick.

He learned piano in the New Orleans brothels, I think, then took up the guitar, primarily influenced by GUitar SLim. When Guitar SLim fell ill/got drunk/ he toured as him. Hung out with Snooks Eaglin, Professor Longhair, Dr John, and all the guys.

He was a real poet, too, a little like Chuck BErry or Johnny Guitar Watson (who covered one of his songs). Also a terrible drunk. I interviewed him once, took him out for a meal in Camden, primarily for a piece I was writing on Guitar Slim; we had quite a few drinks, then I took him back to his hotel. By then we were both a bit hammered, and he was playing that evening, so I made my excuses, as he needed to get changed and sober up forthe sow.

After visiting the toilet and making a phonecall, I was lieaving the hotel when I noticed he was back at the bar, with another stiff drink (vodka?). I figured it was better to rejoin him than watch him drinking alone.

I think it might have been that night, at the Astoria, on a bill with Bobby Bland and Irma Thomas, that he tripped over his 40-foot long guitar lead, couldn't get up, and continued to play this weird, spikey guitar while lying on his back.

THat night he also did Sunrise - from a recent album on Blacktop - which was wonderful, as good as the stuff he made in his prime.

I'd rank him with SNooks Ealgin - hardly known, but for the people who know, one of the greats. For a certain generation of musicians, liek Johnny Guitar Watson and Dr John, he was an inspirational figure, and you can hear his influence in their songs. The two, alter Blacktop albums are well worth a listen, altho I think only Ace have any of his earlier material.

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Kenji
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Re: Earl King

Postby Kenji » 26 Jun 2009, 13:23

:D

It's a great story and post, greenwichpaul! Thanks!

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shortfatb
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Re: Earl King

Postby shortfatb » 26 Jun 2009, 13:27

greenwichpaul wrote:A wonderful guy, and a typical New Orleans maverick.

He learned piano in the New Orleans brothels, I think, then took up the guitar, primarily influenced by GUitar SLim. When Guitar SLim fell ill/got drunk/ he toured as him. Hung out with Snooks Eaglin, Professor Longhair, Dr John, and all the guys.

He was a real poet, too, a little like Chuck BErry or Johnny Guitar Watson (who covered one of his songs). Also a terrible drunk. I interviewed him once, took him out for a meal in Camden, primarily for a piece I was writing on Guitar Slim; we had quite a few drinks, then I took him back to his hotel. By then we were both a bit hammered, and he was playing that evening, so I made my excuses, as he needed to get changed and sober up forthe sow.

After visiting the toilet and making a phonecall, I was lieaving the hotel when I noticed he was back at the bar, with another stiff drink (vodka?). I figured it was better to rejoin him than watch him drinking alone.

I think it might have been that night, at the Astoria, on a bill with Bobby Bland and Irma Thomas, that he tripped over his 40-foot long guitar lead, couldn't get up, and continued to play this weird, spikey guitar while lying on his back.

THat night he also did Sunrise - from a recent album on Blacktop - which was wonderful, as good as the stuff he made in his prime.

I'd rank him with SNooks Ealgin - hardly known, but for the people who know, one of the greats. For a certain generation of musicians, liek Johnny Guitar Watson and Dr John, he was an inspirational figure, and you can hear his influence in their songs. The two, alter Blacktop albums are well worth a listen, altho I think only Ace have any of his earlier material.


That is a great story, thanks. His guitar and voice are really and some of his songs have a Louis Jordan style lyric although obviously with a much bluesier sound.

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Re: Earl King

Postby Nolamike » 26 Jun 2009, 13:31

Despite being a terrible drunk, he generally made it to the Tastee Donut six blocks from my house for breakfast every morning. 8-)

He was fantastic, though, wasn't he? Criminally underrated.
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Re: Earl King

Postby greenwichpaul » 26 Jun 2009, 13:55

Nolamike wrote:Despite being a terrible drunk, he generally made it to the Tastee Donut six blocks from my house for breakfast every morning. 8-)

He was fantastic, though, wasn't he? Criminally underrated.


I should have said wonderful drunk, not terrible drunk. You know how it is: you can interview any number of boring tossers (I dunno, Clapton, Bernard Butler) who are supposoedly interesting, and it's the poeple like earl who will stay with you forever. I so miss him, Gatemouth, Johnny Guitar Watson. I've looked forthe Earl King story that featured him but can't locate it, but when I do I will put it up somewhere and link it here.

Are the Donuts Tastee? I thought he'd opened his own coffee shop?

Edit: THat wonderful, latter day song is called Waiting For The Sun To Rise - from Sexual Telepathy, on Black Top. Sadly, his great earlier songs are spread across several different albums: I do have an Imperial Best Of (EMI AMerica) on vinyl which features both Trick Bag and Come On (let The Good times roll). Which, of course, shows what a big influence on Hendrix he was - Jimi's cover, which is absolutely characteristic of his own style, with all those E9 chords, is essentially identical to the Earl's original. (Fortunately, Earl didn't sign away his rights).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1sRdPZI_i8
Last edited by greenwichpaul on 26 Jun 2009, 19:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Earl King

Postby Insouciant Western People » 26 Jun 2009, 14:03

I think Owen's a fan, he sent me some wonderful N'Awlinz music a few years ago.
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Re: Earl King

Postby Billybob Dylan » 26 Jun 2009, 14:15

I only know Trick Bag. Got some recommendations?
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Re: Earl King

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 26 Jun 2009, 16:08

Every BCB cup I throw Trick Bag on my initial list...then I take it off sadly remembering that it will mean nothing to most BCBer's and that a well-chosen Blondie track will have 100 times the impact.

If you are interested in Earl King, start with this:

Image
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Re: Earl King

Postby Billybob Dylan » 26 Jun 2009, 17:01

Thanks, Davey.
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Re: Earl King

Postby Guy E » 26 Jun 2009, 18:31

Terrific story Paul.

Earl King was the greatest. A great story-telling songwriter with catchy tunes as well.

I love the Imperial era stuff, but my favorite collection of his might be from the early-70's, Street Parade... not sure how hard that would be to find these days.

His later albums on Rounder (was it their Black Top subsidiary?) are very good.
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Re: Earl King

Postby Nolamike » 27 Jun 2009, 03:19

goldwax wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:Every BCB cup I throw Trick Bag on my initial list...then I take it off sadly remembering that it will mean nothing to most BCBer's and that a well-chosen Blondie track will have 100 times the impact.

If you are interested in Earl King, start with this:

Image


It's great, but it doesn't have Trick Bag on it, just for the record.


Despite the lack of Trick Bag, this comp IS the best starting point.

And I should've clarified earlier, he wasn't a terrible drunk, just a very, very, very drunk.
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Re: Earl King

Postby Owen » 27 Jun 2009, 10:03

I shall obviously have to hunt down trick bag, Earls Pearls is a great disc

Edit
Trick bag
http://hypem.com/track/758558/Earl+King-Trick+Bag

Very Nice

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Re: Earl King

Postby greenwichpaul » 27 Jun 2009, 11:53

A few snippets of Earl the raconteur

King on growing up in New Orleans:

"Tuts Washington was my daddy's best friend., My father died when I was a baby and I never got a chance to know him, and when I met Tuts Washington and he found out who my daddy was he said: look boy you sit down here and I'm gonna tell you about him. So he told me about how he played down in the red light district. They didn't have juke boxes so every little place had a piano . That's what made it a piano town. They done had a lot of things, killings and all kinds of stuff in those places. My grandma used to tell me she used to be so afraid for my daddy, She said I stay up at night for him, sometimes I used to get my two dogs to go and get him, said I'm not gonna go in them bars, but I go send my dogs in there and they find him, so I go from bar to bar with them dogs. My daddy died when he was young when he was 26.

"The red light district - everybody talked about it will tell you about how it was really wild back them. Don;t even mention in war time when all the soldiers and sailors were coming to New Orleans, I was a kid then approaching my teens, me and my friends used to go out and shine the sailors' shoes... "

On touring in place of Guitar SLim:
"His manager sent me out there in his place. Slim got drunk and ran into a parked bulldozer in the street with his Cadillac and he was in hospital, so they sent me out in the places Slim was supposed to be - the places they were sending me the people had never saw Slim before so they didn't know no better, Except one place I went some guy had saw me in NO.. I got in trouble .But when i came back off that tour Slim went crazy. I saw him walking down the street coming towards the Dew Drop nightclub, with a hospital gown, a guitar on his back, his slippers and an overnight case. And he walked dead up to me and went to cursin me out, - Earl, I gonna kill you man. If you did anything out there gonna mess my name up. And I said i didn't do anything wrong, I said I went out there in your place cause your manager said they was gonna demand all their deposits back and have to pay for all the advertising. He said that's OK then - how much money did you get. I said I didn't get nothing but 25 dollars a night, he said what! Where's the rest of the money. he said how many people did they get in, I said they were packing them in, you's hot as a firecracker out there.... he said come on inside and have a drink, and I'm gonna get onto them on the phone and get me some money... "

Guitar Slim & Voodoo:
"Slim always had Voodoo bottles on his dresser, ain't nothin' but some coloured water, and he hide his liquor in one of them weird bottles, no nobody touch it.. So Slim said, Earl, let me tell you something boy. Listen at this song, I'm gonna play it for you, but if you mess with this song lightning gonna come down and strike you dead as a door nail. He said I'm playing this song to you, 'cause the Lord came down to me one night. And the Lord had offered a song for me on one hand, and the devil had one on the other... and he said, you know which one I took. I said I know. And he said i took the one from the devil - and that's The Things I Used To Do.

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Re: Earl King

Postby John aka Josh » 27 Jun 2009, 16:22

Thanks Greewichpaul for all the info - entertaining stuff. Did you ever meet Snooks Eaglin? Any Snooks anecdotes would be more than welcome, definitely one of the greats.
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Re: Earl King

Postby Guy E » 27 Jun 2009, 17:53

goldwax wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:Every BCB cup I throw Trick Bag on my initial list...then I take it off sadly remembering that it will mean nothing to most BCBer's and that a well-chosen Blondie track will have 100 times the impact.

If you are interested in Earl King, start with this:

Image


It's great, but it doesn't have Trick Bag on it, just for the record.

I don't have Earl's Pearls... not sure why I passed it up, but I have a 14-track Ace LP titled Let The Good Times Roll, all of which is on Earl's Pearls.

Earl's Pearls doesn't have any of his Imperial recordings. For those, this CD is the most recently-released collection:
Image

And Street Parade is great:
Image

Amazon says this is the first release of this material, but I have an earlier LP and CD version with a MUCH nicer cover, but don't let that put you off. This CD is actually affordable on Amazon... the others aren't.
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Re: Earl King

Postby Muskrat » 27 Jun 2009, 18:11

greenwichpaul wrote: Slim got drunk and ran into a parked bulldozer in the street with his Cadillac and he was in hospital...


New Orleans shares this idiom with the UK, or you pulled the story out of Mojo or some other Brit publication that translates American into English?


Great story, of course. Thanks.
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Re: Earl King

Postby greenwichpaul » 27 Jun 2009, 19:23

Muskrat wrote:
greenwichpaul wrote: Slim got drunk and ran into a parked bulldozer in the street with his Cadillac and he was in hospital...


New Orleans shares this idiom with the UK?
.

Wot idiom? "Ran into" "parked", "bulldozer" or "Cadillac"?

Coulda been banged into, but I can't check with Earl, can i?

That Imperial Compilation looks like The One.

And sadly, I only ever said Hello to snooks and saw him play, never chatted - he was shy. SO no stories about him bar the Dr John one, where the band were drunk and got him to drive them home.

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Re: Earl King

Postby Guy E » 27 Jun 2009, 20:32

greenwichpaul wrote:
Muskrat wrote:
greenwichpaul wrote: Slim got drunk and ran into a parked bulldozer in the street with his Cadillac and he was in hospital...


New Orleans shares this idiom with the UK?
.

Wot idiom? "Ran into" "parked", "bulldozer" or "Cadillac"?

Coulda been banged into, but I can't check with Earl, can i?

That Imperial Compilation looks like The One.

And sadly, I only ever said Hello to snooks and saw him play, never chatted - he was shy. SO no stories about him bar the Dr John one, where the band were drunk and got him to drive them home.


I think Muskrat was referring to "in hospital" rather than "in the hospital"... I see that sort of transposition in the English music press all the time and I doubt if the people transcribing the interviews or proofreading the magazine even think about it.

I've never understood the phrase though... do you say "in office" or "in pub"?
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