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Stax Records to Release Deluxe Version of Albert King's 'Born Under a Bad Sign' Album

On April 2, Stax Records, a unit of Concord Music Group, will release the deluxe edition of one of Albert King's most revered albums — 1967's Born Under a Bad Sign.

The album will feature bonus tracks and updated liner notes by music historian Bill Dahl.

“Thanks to Born Under a Bad Sign, Albert King became a full-fledged blues luminary, masterfully bridging the gap between the Chitlin’ Circuit and the rock arena," Dahl writes. "He would make more great Stax albums, but he’d never top this one.”

The deluxe release will include previously unissued alternate takes of “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Crosscut Saw,” “The Hunter,” “Personal Manager” and an untitled instrumental.

There's no denying Born Under a Bad Sign's place in rock and blues history. It features “Crosscut Saw,” one of King’s best-known recordings, which was covered by Eric Clapton, plus the title track, “Born Under a Bad Sign,” which reached No. 49 on the R&B chart in 1967 and was quickly covered by Cream in 1968.

King's recording of “Oh, Pretty Woman,” which was written by WDIA DJ Williams, features Steve Cropper’s rhythm guitar work, which augments King’s lead licks. The song went to be be a signature track for John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, who covered the tune during their Mick Taylor era.

The album is also known for its many covers: King gave the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller R&B standard “Kansas City” an urban blues treatment. He’s right at home with Fenton Robinson’s “As the Years Go Passing By.” Ivory Joe Hunter’s “I Almost Lost My Mind” is a rare King ballad with countrypolitan overtones and jazz flute, an unlikely showcase for his rich baritone.

King will be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame April 18.

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For more about Albert King, check out the new issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine, which features King on its cover and celebrates the blues master's long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a look at his life and legacy. It's available now at the Guitar World Online Store!

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Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.