B.B. King and the late Muddy Waters may be better known to the general public, but Albert King rivals them as a blues artist who has made an indelible impression on the contemporary blues sound.
King, who plays the Coach House on Friday, doesn't really have a classic song associated with his name. His trademark is an instrumental style that has been a major influence on scores of guitarists. Rock heroes from Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton to present-day idols Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray have cited King's stinging tone, economy and ability to squeeze the maximum emotion from each precisely articulated note.
Born in Indianola, Miss., King played drums on some early Jimmy Reed sessions and started recording occasionally for small, St. Louis blues labels in 1953. He cut five songs for the influential Chess label in 1961 and enjoyed his first R&B chart hit the following year with "Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong" for King Records.
It wasn't until 1966, when he hooked up with the Memphis soul sound for an eight-year run on the Stax label, that his recording career took off. Backed by Booker T & the MGs on his early Stax sessions, King broke through with the landmark "Born Under a Bad Sign" album in 1967.