2018 – Orleans Records
By Phillip Smith; January 13, 2019
At seventy-eight, Little Freddie King is still ferociously pumping out raw, live blues in New Orleans at The DBA, and BJ’s Lounge. His latest album, Fried Rice & Chicken is derived from six tracks off his 1996 release Swamp Boogie, and five songs from his 2000 in-concert album Sing Sang Sung. For those like me who missed the boat on those two albums, this is a great one to pick up.
For the Swamp Boogie half, King is joined by bassists Earl Stanley and Robert Wilson, upright bassist Jason Sipher, drummers Kerry Brown and Bradley Wisham, and ‘Crazy’ Rick Allen on the Wurlitzer electric piano and organ. The album opens with a splendidly funky instrumental cover of Jr. Walker and the All Stars’ “Cleo’s Back”. King plays this with a slice old school twang, as Allen drizzles the song with an early Stax/Booker T. Jones vibe. King also tears it up on Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say”, the other cover on the Swamp Boogie half of the record. I love “The Great Chinese”. This pseudo-instrumental has a definite Champs (“Tequilla”) influence. Its rhythm pulls me in for a funky ride. Another endearing instrumental, “Kinky Cotton Fields” is delivered with a western, cowboy twang.
The second half of Fried Rice & Chicken features recordings from two 1999 shows at Dream Palace in New Orleans. The musicians playing with King on these tracks consist of long-time collaborator ‘Wacko’ Wade Wright on drums, Anthony Anderson on electric bass, and Bobby Lewis DiTullio on harmonica. This act kicks off in a no-holds-barred way with a fantastic hardcore blues jam called “Sing Sang Sung”. King continues to rip it up on guitar, DiTullio kills it on harp, and Wright keeps the pulse adrenalized on drums. Singing from the heart, King splendidly covers Jimmy Reed’s 1957 classic “Honest I Do”. He also pays a rockin’ tribute to his namesake, Freddie King on “Hide Away”. The album comes to a close with the funky country blues original “Bad Chicken”. I can feel the smiles on the musicians’ faces, every time I hear it.
Fried Rice & Chicken is a pure gem, and its rawness fascinates me.
For more information about the artist, visit this website: https://littlefreddieking.com
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