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All I Want For Christmas - Is A Freddie King Guitar! - Articles Surfing
I must have been about 16 or 17. I was a guitar nut by then. I couldn't play much, but I was a fan; a big fan of guitars. Any music on TV was carefully screened to see if any serious guitar players were involved. I was into rock music, but I had enough understanding of the genre to know that most of the stuff I loved to listen to had evolved from the blues.
One of the pre-requisites of my blues education was a late night program in the UK, called the Old Grey Whistle Test, I am ashamed to say that although most of the music (I now know) was great, I turned my nose up at most of it. I could just about tolerate a keyboard or piano, but brass instruments were most definitely for pansies. You couldn't get more removed from rock and roll than a trumpet or a trombone!
One night, I saw that the OGWT roster had someone called Freddie King on. I had heard of him, because I had heard of most people. I may have barely scraped through my traditional education, but at my Rock n Roll studies, I was definitely an A grade student.
So, Freddie King was on offer, and I felt I had to give the man an airing. So I tuned in. A big man our Freddie. He was introduced, and after a brief pause, started cooking with an instrumental number called Boogie Funk.
I was awe struck.
I loved it. This guy was something else.
Over the months (and years) that followed, I searched every record store I knew for Freddie King albums, seeking out this tune; Boogie Funk. And could I find it? No. I bought several albums of Freddie's, and was always disappointed because it was not on any of them. I thought I had misheard the name of the track, so I looked for anything that might have been that track, and was always disappointed. Freddie King, sadly, became a disappointment.
Roll forward over 30 years.
Freddie King is no longer with us. He died a few short years after the TV show I saw. But I have never forgotten that one single performance.
I was in a music store in Bristol (near where I live), looking for a Christmas present for my wife. This is a bit of a ritual for me now. I go and brave the crowds at the Mall, looking for something for my, wife, and end up in a music store. It happens every year. As luck would have it, I had found something for my better half, and was just looking at the shelves to see if there was anything from my youth, when I came upon the DVD section. I like the DVD's more than the CD's to be honest. Live performances of artists long lost to me are one of the shining lights of the modern age.
So I was browsing through the DVD's and what did I see? Yes, you've guessed, some archives of the OGWT. I wasn't even thinking of Freddie King, but on one of the DVD's, there was Freddie, listed in the credits for, yes, Boogie Funk. I nearly wet myself. Do you ever get moments of pure excitement and anticipation? I did in the shop. Needless to say, I bought the DVD, and rushed home.
Freddie King's performance was almost exactly how I remembered it. The excitement was the same, the energy was the same. I had discovered a window to my adolescence. Freddie played a Gibson ES 335 guitar (I think) and played a pivotal blues boogie. Just for me.
Freddie, I am sorry that I lost you for all those years. You were lost, but never forgotten. And now you are back, I am yours again for ever; a fan again!
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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