Here it is, folks! The #1 album from the bottom 10 albums from the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time! Or, as I like to call it, The Best of the Worst of the Best! Congratulations to Albert King! You can’t say that you have bad luck this time, Al. You got (four-hundred and ninety-)first!!! #WINNER
In all seriousness, Born Under a Bad Sign definitely deserves rank above the other worst of the best. That really does sound like a backhanded compliment, but it’s true. I’ve enjoyed listening to these albums so far (well, mostly…), but this one is probably my favorite so far. Granted, I have a special place in my heart for the Blues. I believe that was mentioned in my review of another King in #499.
And aside from my love of Blues music (not to mention Blues guitar, which this album has plenty of [also my love of the St. Louis Blues]), this album has a downright excellent sound to it. Right at the jump, when the title track comes blaring in with that unmistakable horn riff, and then Albert King starts singing. AND OMG THAT VOICE. Listen, I don’t mean to be mean, but if you don’t like his voice, you have terrible ears. Seriously, your ears should have been rejected by quality control. This isn’t like some artists that I like, where it is totally okay to not like the sound of their voice (Geddy Lee, I’m looking at you. Sorry, Bro).
Born Under a Bad Sign is full of solid tracks, as you will hear in my Solid Gold Picks. Generally speaking, you can expect King’s great voice, some awesome Blues riffs, and some great (sometimes quite humorous) lyrics (take note of “Kansas City,” “Oh, Pretty Woman…,” and “The Hunter” [which Kiss almost assuredly took influence from on their hit, “Love Gun”]). This is the type of album that you can listen to over and over again. I can say this with some authority, as that’s exactly what I’ve been doing at work lately (listen, sometimes things get a little boring in the reliability lab and I need something to occupy my mind).
My only issue with this album it is that the final two tracks, “As The Years Go Passing By” and “The Very Thought Of You,” end the album on a much different pace than the rest of the album. That is not to say that those are bad songs! However, I think track placement is super important and often overlooked. For those of us that are old enough to remember mix-tapes and mix CD’s, you should know the importance of properly arranging tracks in order to get the most bitchen mix ever.
Don’t get me wrong. “The Very Thought Of You” is actually a great closing track (and a great track, generally speaking. Good enough to be a Solid Gold Pick!). I’m just saying that maybe having that directly follow the only other mellow track on the album kind of leads to this album feeling like it ends on a bit of a bummer. And there is nothing I dislike more than anything seeming like a bummer, ever.
In closing (when did I get so formal?), you should for real-sies chiggity-check this album out (okay maybe not so much with the formalities). It may not change your life or anything like that, but it is a lot of fun and it just might be that something that keeps you entertained during long hours in the lab.
My Solid Gold Picks from Born Under A Bad Sign, in the order that they appear, are:
- “Born Under A Bad Sign” – Bet you didn’t see that one coming
- “Oh Pretty Woman – Can’t Make You Love Me”
- “Down Don’t Bother Me” – This has all the components of a great Blues track.
- “The Hunter”
- “The Very Thought of You” – Remember when I said he has a great voice?
You can hear these and all of my other Solid Gold Picks on my Spotify Playlist, The Greatest Songs In The Universe. Check it out and don’t forget to subscribe (that’s a thing bloggers do, right? Tell people to subscribe?).
Also, as a side note. I did a Google search and it appears that there are a number of other bloggers that have attempted to review all 500 of the Rolling Stone Greatest Albums of All Time (I never claimed that this was a unique idea). Most people don’t make it too far. There is one blog that is actually trucking along quite well, but they have seriously 15 contributors. So there is that. Anyway, all that to say I feel like other’s failures have led me to a “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED” moment.
I’ve had fun with these first ten and look forward to a few more years of enjoyment out of this nonsense. Cheers!