Gone But Not Forgotten: Freddy King

Great guitar players and the Blues have gone together since the beginning of time. The two are pretty much inseparable, so if one decides to trace the roots of Blues guitar playing back to it’s core, there will always be the names of some key players in each particular genre. For Electric Blues, the 3 kings, Albert, B.B. and Freddy are 3 chefs that were GIGANTIC in the Blues kitchen!

Freddy King was born Frederick Christian on September 3, 1934 in Gilmer, Texas. Stories vary of how Freddy started to use the last name King in place of his birth name. His Mother was Ella Mae King and most agree that he chose to use her maiden name to hopefully follow the already proven success of another King, B.B. Regardless, the name worked well, and Freddy, who also went by the spelling of Freddie soon took a big interest in the Blues. Freddy, Albert and B.B. King are not related, but when Freddy was once asked if they were, I think he gave the proper response: “No. We are not related, but we’re all brothers!”

In 1949, his family relocated to Chicago’s South Side. Freddy was always on the larger side, even in his youth. This enabled him to get into several Blues clubs many years before he should have, and let him start his Blues education early. Freddy witnessed some great performances at a very young age, taking in T-Bone Walker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters in the Chicago clubs. Freddy would always name Water’s guitarist Jimmy Rogers as one of his major influences. The saxophone style of Louis Jordan also influenced the young Freddy very much. He would often tell how he listened to Jordan’s tunes over and over until he could match him note for note on guitar. He became very close with Muddy and all of his sidemen. Freddy took on a unique style of picking the guitar with a metal index f