He never made a bad album per se, though after the early 70s his stuff became strictly paint-by-numbers. Live At The Regal and Live At Crook County Jail are pretty much his musical zenith, so listen to those if nothing else.
>BB King "He's seldom been terrible, and when in 1978 he stopped trying for AM ballads and disco crossovers and moved on up to nightclub funk, he started making good albums again. There Must Be a Better World Somewhere (1981), anchored by Pretty Purdie with plenty of fine Hank Crawford sax and Dr. John piano, featured fine new songs from Dr. John and Doc Pomus. The voice was no longer exquisite and the licks might as well have been copyrighted, but for King, standard means classic. Then again, it also means predictable, and the only one of his well-made later albums I got into was Fantasy's 16 Original Big Hits, a reissue of Galaxie's 1968 best-of. Now that's classic."
>Albert King "I've somehow never been moved by his wide-beamed take on BB's blues, although I suspect that's not entirely Albert's fault. It is generally understood that the man's best work came during his 60s tenure at Stax. Afterwards, he spent most of the 70s making pop music with predictable results. For an eloquent defense, see Robert Palmer's liner notes on Albert King: Live."
>Freddie King "Forget what Anglophiles tell you (and he slavishly acknowledges them in Palace of the King), the man's been slacking for years. His R&B cuts from the 60s are acute, but the more recent efforts are nothing but Leon Russell/Donald Dunn/Don Nix numbers with the vocals all blurred and fake-and-roll guitar."
>>61596385 Albert King later tried to fall back on straight 12-bar blues but he was getting old and had tapped out all his good musical ideas, so his career ended in a whimper rather than a bang.
Oftentimes when you're older, you need outside help to make a good album, say Muddy Waters's last albums which were masterfully produced by Johnny Winter or American IV or Ray Charles's final record, Genius Loves Company. Albert, alas, didn't have a Johnny Winter to save him.
>>61596442 The thing is, Muddy does nothing really new on those last records, just good ol' Chicago blues, but Winter's production was excellent and included mic-ing the backing band for a more resonant sound. Also the final album (King Bee) has a similar melancholy feel to American IV in that you know he's a dying man.
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