-the master of the telecaster-
1932 - 1993
-the Master of the Telecaster-, Mr. Albert Collins is truly regarded being one of the world's most talented and versatile blues guitar players. Together with his reliable, phat and funky guitar trademark has he once and for all made himself permanent in the worlds music history. Not only as being one of the coolest and most devoted blues guitarists around, but also due to the fact of his original guitar playing style, and his great and humble personality.
Albert Collins was born on the 1st of October, in 1932 in Houston, Texas. He grew up on a farm with two farming parents, and at a very young age he soon found himself helping out at home with different chores. Being exposed to music at a very early age, his first guitar heroes soon came to be his cousin Lightnin' Hopkins and the nowadays legendary, John Lee Hooker. In 1941 the Collins family decided to move back Albert's birthplace, Houston. Albert continued school but found it to be enough after 10th grade and quit in favor of working. From the beginning he was mostly interested in the organ and the piano, but soon he found a lot bigger interest in the guitar, which he had started to play at the local church. However he didn't become really serious about hi s guitar playing until he in the beginning of the 50s, started to tour the black juke joints in Houston's black areas. In 1952 he formed his own group, Albert Collins & the Rhythm Rockers, which included musicians like Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones (voc, el-g) and "Little" Milton Campbell (voc, el-g). His first recording, The Freeze quickly gave him the reputation as one of the greatest blues guitarists alive, and his cool and funky guitar trademark came to mark his career permanently. Between 1958 and 1971, Al bert recorded mostly instrumental Texas blues, influenced by artists as T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, Lightning' Hopkins and various jazz musicians. During the 60s he recorded for several independent labels like Kangaroo, Great Scott and TCF Hall. Many of his songs were given cool little titles as Frosty, Sno-cone and Defrost. Together with his band he also toured with different performers as blues guitar player Albert King, vocalist Little Richard and guitarist and harmonica player Jimmy Reed. In 1965 he dissolved his group and settled in Kansas City. He was still very musical active, and played with legendary musicians as jazz-guitarist Wes Montgomery and organ player Jimmy McGriff. In 1968 he was persuaded by Bob Hite, from the famous blues/rock band Ca nned Heat, to move to California were Hite had arranged a record deal for Albert with Imperial Recordings. Albert decided to move out to California and with Hite as prod ucer he cut three LPs for the company. By the same time Albert started touring the Amer ican west coast, and played among others with guitarist Robert Cray. Collins west coast tours also generated in him inspiring a whole new generation of blues guitar players as Robert Cray, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Louis Walker.
From 1972 to 78 Collins was quite tired of music and played more and more seldom, and during these six years he completely stopped recording. The whole matter went so far that he during 1974 and 75 totally quit playing the guitar. Instead he took a job as a construction worker, and e.g. did work on Neil Diamonds house. After hard persuasions from his wife, Gwen Collins, Albert decided to return to his music career in the late 70s.
the Master of the Telecaster, live in London 1989
In 1978 Collins got a contract with one of Americas biggest blues record companies , the Chicago based Alligator records. The years with Alligator, backed by his own band the Icebreakers, generated in some of his best recordings ever. His work on Alligator quickly helped him back into international blues society and the musical spotlights. Many of his recordings on Alligator became Grammy nominated, but it was not until the record "Showdown" from 1985 with Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland, that Collins finally got the big respect and acknowledgement that he so well deserved. In 1991 he moved to the Virgin owned record company Pointblank were he recorded three great and genuine recordings. He also participated with B.B King on Gary Moores album After Hours from 1992. The collaboration with Moore also led to Albert being the guest blues artist on Moores following world tour in 1993. He was also featured on a live recording with Moore (Blues Alive) which was recorded during the tour. Collins has also participated on one of jazz saxophone player Branford Marsalis albums. In 1993 Collins released a collection titled "Collins Mix- the best of" which included prominent guest stars as Gary Moore, B.B King, Branford Marsalis and harmonica player Kim Wilson from the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
In 1993 when Albert Collins was at his peak of his career, he received the tragic diagnose that he was suffering from incurable liver cancer. Despite the cancer he continued to play and tour clubs and different festivals with his band the Icebreakers until his imminent death. The last recordings with the Icebreakers resulted in his last record, Live 92-93 which was released in 1995, and captures one of the worlds top blues guitarists in top shape. On the 25th of November, 1993, at the age of 61, Albert Collins tragically passed away in peace at his home in Las Vegas, California, only six months after being diagnosed with cancer.
Albert Collins was a moderate vocalist, but instead an incredible and extremely magnificent guitarist with a rel iable phat and juicy Fender Telecaster sound. With his peculiar, original and funky guitar trademark Collins quickly established himself as one of the worlds leading blues guitar players, together with fellow guitar colleagues as B.B King, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and Albert King. Between 1958 and 1971, Collins mainly recorded instrumental Texas blues influenced by artists as T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, Lightning' Hopkins and various jazz musicians. It would take until the mid 1970s before he finally stepped up in front of the microphone for the first time. During the years with Alligator he developed his vocal skills, and after being faced with hard persuasions from his friends and from his wife Gwen, he finally agreed to give his vocals a chance. Eventually he turned out to become a really great singer as well. Collins who since the 50s been a devoted Fender Telecaster fan, has also been honored by Fender with an own Fender Telecaster Signature model.
Trash Talkin´ 1969
Truckin´With Albert Collins 1969
the Complete Albert Collins 1970
Alive & Cool 1970
There's Gotta Be a Change 1971
Ice Pickin´ 1978
Frozen Alive 1981
Live In Japan 1983
Showdown - feat Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland, Robert Cray 1985
Cold Snap 1986
Complete Imperial Recordings 1991
Albert Collins 1991
Collins Mix - the Best of 1993
Don't Loose Your Cool 1995
Albert Collins Live 1995
Live 92 - 93 1995
Deluxe Edition 1997
Molten Ice (recorded live in Toronto 1973) 1998
Barrelhouse Live (recorded live in Holland)
the Hot Cool Sound of Albert Collins (recorded live 1973 in Toronto)
Love Can Be Anywhere (Even In a Guitar)
Rockin´ With the Iceman
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