Although Little Freddie King patterned his name and playing style after his role model Freddie King, the man with "Little" in his moniker is an original. Leaving his native Mississippi in the 1950s to move to the music Mecca of New Orleans, King brought the indigenous sound of the Mississippi Delta blues with him. It has stayed with him ever since, as he has continued to hone his raw sound over the decades. This is not prettified or citified blues, this is country blues that could only come out of the South. Surrounded by great New Orleans musicians playing in other styles, King has remained true to the familiar, raspy blues he grew up with. That unique sound is what ensures that his live performances at BJ's and Tipitina's are packed with blues aficionados and other musicians who listen in rapt attention. The blues master has played the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for 32 consecutive years. Listeners come away stunned, saying King's blues may not be pretty, but they sure are real. There are stories to go with the legend of Little Freddie King. He is the cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins and works long and hard at his daytime gig at an auto repair shop, scrabbling at night to play music at local bars. He has no car himself and rides his bicycle to work from a bad part of town, where he lives with his wife. His body is scarred with the five bullets it has taken. He is all smiles about having received a new set of teeth in 2002, as well as medical care, courtesy of the Music Maker Relief Foundation. A lot of troubles went into Little Freddie King and came out the blues. He recorded an electric blues album in 1969 entitled Harmonica Williams and Little Freddie King. On the recording, one can hear the influences of his cousin, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Texas-born Chicago electric blues giant Freddie King. Short of a trip to the Crescent City, the blues fan who wanted more of that gritty, authentic sound had to wait 27 years for the 1996 release of Swamp Boogie. The album contains traditional songs like "Kinky Cotton Fields"; covers of some classics, such as Freddie King's "San-Ho-Zay" and Ray Charles' "What'd I Say?"; as well as some great new pieces, like "I Used to Be Down" and I'm Gonna Haul Right Off and Cry. King's 2000 CD release Sing Sang Sung was recorded live at the popular Dream Palace in the Faubourg Marigny, just outside the French Quarter. From the get go on, the title instrumental is soulful, heart-wrenching blues. He smokes on covers of Freddie King's signature tune "Hideaway" and Hopkins' "Rocky Mountain." Other standout selections include "Do She Ever Think of Me?" and "Bad Chicken," a tune complete with chicken clucks from King's old days on the farm in Mississippi. ~ Rose of Sharon WitmerPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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