Albert King was the Immaculate Conception as a guitarist, says Joe Bonamassa: “Nobody before Albert played the way he did.”

He often returns to Albert out of the three Kings.

Joe Bonamassa, Albert King

Images: C Brandon / David Redfern / Getty

Joe Bonamassa called Albert King the “Immaculate Conception as a guitar player” because of the aggression and emotion he gives to his playing.

In a chat with GuitarWorld where he listed his favourite players, Bonamassa said of Albert King: “Of the three Kings, I often go back to Albert because he was essentially the Immaculate Conception as a guitar player. Nobody before Albert played the way he did.

He went on: “Again, he had a lot of raw aggression and such emotion in his playing, and that’s very appealing.

“As far as sheer playing, he might be the nastiest blues player there was.”

The other Kings – BB King and Freddie King – also made it on his list. But each for their own reasons.

Bonamassa, upon reflection, said BB King was “the Frank Sinatra of the blues.” He admired BB’s singing, playing and entertainment value as a whole.

But Freddie King’s style was also “so profoundly influential”, mused Bonamassa.

He explained: “What I love about Freddie is that while he was a great guitar player, he was also a popstar. But even with his pop sensibilities, he was a true ambassador to the blues.”

Joe Bonamassa himself began his blues rock career at 12 years old, when he opened for BB King at a number of shows in 1989. Since then he’s released at least fifteen solo albums and earned three Grammy Award nominations.


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