Earl King, Johnny Adams: Nugget Club, Long Beach CA


B.B… ALBERT… Freddie. In the royal family of blues, New Orleans singer-guitarist Earl King is easily the least-heralded member. Making his local debut Friday at Cal State Long Beach’s Nugget club, this Crescent City crowned head showcased the idiosyncratic instrumental style and the stellar songwriting skills that become a semi-legend most.

Picking with his thumb, the self-taught guitarist packs a sackful of original licks. Just listen to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, who recorded King’s ‘Come On’ almost note-for-note. Although the brief set was beset with technical problems, at least King dealt his best tunes: ‘Trick Bag’, ‘Those Lonely, Lonely Nights’, ‘Big Chief’ and ‘Come On’.

Stir in sympathetic support from the New Orleans Natives quintet, a laid-back-and-smokin’ performance from the headlining Crescent City soul singer Johnny Adams and the result was closer to Dorothy’s Medallion Lounge than a California college beer bar.

© Don WallerLos Angeles Times, 3 March 1986

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