Sunday, September 25, 2011

Freddie King

For me, Freddie King is a little piece of Minnesota.

Growing up in the Canadian prairies put us in close range of Minnesota; the twin cities were a day’s drive away. But it was in the town of Detroit Lakes that we spent a week’s holiday in the summer of 1987, a town from the past, a town that must have been a popular beach spot in my parents’ day, but which for one reason or another had let time pass it by. An hour’s drive east of Fargo ND, the town had a nice beach front, a small amusement park for kids, some decent green space, fresh air, and nothing that hadn't been built at least 40 years earlier.

I must have been off on my own looking for groceries or something when I happened on this little shop that sold LPs. I don’t remember anything about it, what it looked like, what stock it carried, the street it was on. But I know that it was a small shop, and that I picked up a copy of Cruisin’ 1961. (I also picked up a second-hand copy of Animilization by The Animals.) (Just so you know.)

Cruisin’ 1961 was part of the Cruisin series, each LP of which featured a variety of hits from a particular year interspersed with radio talk from the era, which may or may not have been genuine. It seems to me that there were two such series, and if so this was the second. The featured DJ on this LP was Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg, who happened to be the Arnie of Jan & Arnie, the Arnie who was replaced by Dean. Also on the LP were hits by Del Shannon, Freddie Cannon, Chuck Berry, The Marcels etc. And even if you didn’t like the music (I don’t know why you wouldn’t, but let's just say), the entire series was worth buying for the covers alone.

Freddie King:

Hideaway - King lurked about the music scene for a few decades, not to be confused with BB or Ben E or Albert. (He is listed in Whitburn as “Freddy,” but everywhere else he is “Freddie.”) Given his musical stature his chart history is underwhelming, with only four top 100 singles, all in 1961. Hideaway was the only one to make the top 40. Eric Clapton played his version as a member of John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers on the one LP he did with them in 1966.

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