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Freddy King)Freddie "The Texas Cannonball" King (also known as Freddy King) (September 3, 1934 December 28, 1976) was an influential American blues guitarist and singer best known for his recordings from early 1960s including "Hide Away" and "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" and the album Burglar recorded in 1974. He was one of the first artists to have a multi-racial backing band on stage with him at live performances.

Early life
King was born Frederick Christian in Gilmer, Texas on September 3, 1934. His mother was Ella May King, his father J.T. Christian. His mother and uncle, who both played the guitar, began teaching Freddie to play at the age of six.

He moved with his family from Texas to the South Side of Chicago in 1950. There, at age 16 he used to sneak in to local clubs, where he heard blues music performed by the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, T-Bone Walker, Elmore James, and Sonny Boy Williamson. Howlin' Wolf took him under his wing, and Freddie also began jamming with Muddy Waters' sidemen, who included Eddie Taylor, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Lockwood, Jr. and Little Walter.

By 1952 he had married a Texas girl, Jessie Burnett. He gigged at night and worked days in a steel mill. He got occasional work as a sideman on recording sessions. Two bands that he played with during this period were the Sonny Cooper Band, and Early Payton's Blues Cats. He formed the first band of his own, the Every Hour Blues Boys, with guitarist Jimmy Lee Robinson and drummer Sonny Scott.

In 1953 he made some recordings for Parrot. In 1956 he recorded "Country Boy", a duet with, Margaret Whitfield, and "That's What You Think", an up-tempo shuffle. This was for a local label, El-Bee. Robert Lockwood, Jr. appeared as a sideman on guitar.

The Federal Record Label 1960-1966
In 1959 he met Sonny Thompson, a pianist who worked for the King/Federal label. In 1960, King signed with Federal, and while there he often shared songwriting credits, and participated in marathon recording sessions with Thompson. On August 26, 1960, he recorded "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" and "Hide Away", which were to become two of his most popular tunes. His debut release for the label was "You've Got To Love Her with Feeling". His second release on King/Federal was "I Love the Woman". "Hide Away" was used as the B-side for this disk; that tune, a 12-bar mid-tempo shuffle in E with an infectious theme in the head section, and a memorable stop-time break that featured some robust-sounding work on the bass strings, was destined to become one of his signature numbers. It was an adaptation of a tune by Hound Dog Taylor. It was named "Hide Away" after a popular bar in Chicago. Strictly an instrumental -- guitar with rhythm section -- it delighted everyone by crossing over and reaching #29 on the US pop chart. It was later covered by Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan., the Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey, among others. In live performances, seminal blues-rock guitarist Lonnie Mack often integrated portions of the tune into extended blues jams.

After the success of "Hide Away", Syd Nathan who ran Federal label, set Freddie and Sonny Thompson to work on making more instrumentals. This they did, producing over 30 of them during the next five years. These would include "The Stumble", "Just Pickin'", "Sen-Sa-Shun", "Side Tracked", "San-Ho-Zay", "High Rise" and "The Sad Nite Owl". During this period he was touring frequently along with the big R&B acts of the day such as Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and James Brown. His band included his brother Benny Turner on bass. Lonnie Mack played rhythm and second lead guitar on a number of King's recordings duting this period.

On the personal side, Freddie was fond, perhaps overly fond, of the Chicago night life. His official website refers to him "Gambling till dawn in the backroom of Mike's cleaners." His wife, now with ten children, decided to move back to Texas. Once there, she called Syd Nathan and demanded that he send her some of the royalty money due to her husband. To his credit, he sent her 2000 dollars, with which she made the down payment on a house. Realizing that the family was definitely not coming back to Chicago, Freddie, in the spring of 1963, moved back to Texas to rejoin them.

Atlantic Records 1968-1969
King's contract with King/Federal expired in 1966. His first overseas tour in 1967 was a resounding triumph, being extended from one month to three. He was "amazed by his popularity in England."  While making a series of appearances on an R&B program called "The!!!Beat", he was noticed by Atlantic Records star King Curtis, and in 1968 he signed with the Atlantic subsidiary, Cotillion Records. He released two records for them (see Recordings), both of which showcased his vocal talents. They were not overwhelming commercial successes, however.

Shelter Records 1969-1973
In 1969 he hired a young member of the "counter culture" Jack Calmes, to be his manager. Calmes got him booked at the 1969 Texas Pop Festival , alongside Led Zeppelin and others, and got him signed to Leon Russell's new label, Shelter Records. Shelter records was based in Oklahoma, and featured blues/rock performers such as J. J. Cale and Tom Petty. The company treated Freddie as an important artist, flying him to Chicago to the former Chess studios for the recording of his first album, and giving him a supporting cast of top-calibre session musicians -- including Russell, a rock pianist. Three albums made during Shelter period were well-received. They include many covers of blues classics but also some new songs, including "Big Legged Woman" and Don Nix's "Goin' Down". Most of the new material was written by Russell.

RSO 1973-1976
As were many of the top bluesmen of his generation he was now playing what he affectionately called the "Fillmore circuit", performing alongside the big rock acts of the day for a young, mainly white, audience. He toured with Eric Clapton who befriended him holding King in very high esteem. Following his term at Shelter Records, King signed to RSO, the same label as Clapton. In 1974 his first album for RSO was released and entitled Burglar. Tom Dowd produced the track Sugar Sweet at Criteria Studios in Miami with guitarists Eric Clapton and George Terry, drummer Jamie Oldaker and bassist Carl Radle. Mike Vernon is the producer on all other tracks. PP Arnold sings vocals. Vernon produced a second album Larger than life with King for RSO in 1975. Bobby Tench from The Jeff Beck Group and bassist DeLisle Harper perform with King on both albums.

Playing style and influence
King played with a plastic thumb pick and a metal index-finger pick. He had learned this style from Jimmy Rogers. King had a strong influence on blues-rock musicians such as Stevie Ray Vaughan., Ronnie Earl, Peter Green and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Clapton told he was especially deeply moved when he heard King's recording of I Love the Woman for the first time. The guitar solo of that song was a huge source of inspiration for him. When young Jimmy Vaughan was giving performances at bars, King was sometimes watching and gave him some personal advice. King's Hide Away has become a blues standard and was covered by Eric Clapton, John Mayall and Stevie Ray Vaughan.. John Mayall also covered "The Stumble" and "Someday You'll Be Sorry" with Peter Green on guitar. For his blues album From the Cradle Clapton recorded I'm Tore Down and Someday You'll Be Sorry. A testament to king's presence on the circuit of touring rock bands was Grand Funk Railroad's name checking him on '"We're an American Band". Based on incidents while touring, the song includes the line "Up all night with Freddie King, got to tell you poker's his thing".