Albert Collins - Happy Birthday Albert Collins - Classic Blues Videos
Hours of Live Video in Celebration of his Birth
Celebrating the life and music of Texas Blues guitar master Albert Collins -aka- The Iceman -aka- The Razor Blade -aka- The Master of The Telecaster!
Albert Collins is a Blues guitar master! Collins earned the nicknames The Razor Blade and The Iceman as his tone and aggressive playing could cut through steel. Collins' performances are so high energy and you can tell how much he loves playing the Blues every second he's on stage or wandering through the audience and in some cases even the streets outside the club. I've never seen a video of Albert where he wasn't giving every bit he had to the music and the audience and few Blues musicians can take it to the level Collins could every night. Just a few of the next generation of guitar players that cite Albert as an influence include Jimi Hendrix, Coco Montoya, Robert Cray, Gary Moore, Debbie Davies, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jonny Lang, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayer, Frank Zappa and so many others. In fact Jimi named Albert in an interview in the 1960s as a guy back then people needed to pay attention to as he was. "There's one cat I'm still trying to get across to people," Hendrix said. "His name is Albert Collins. . . . He's good. Really good."
Albert's sound heavily influenced the way guitar players have approached the instrument after him and almost every guitar player today has been influenced by Collins or someone influenced by him . Collins' music and sound will be with us for a long time to come.
"I get most of my sound from the amp that I use and I always like to use my own amp- a 100 watt Quad Reverb I've been using since 1972. I always put the volume all the way up on 10, treble on 10, middle on 10 and I don't use bass, intensity or none of that. Reverb I set at 4."
"I was told when I started to play that simple music is the hardest music in the world to play. And blues is simple music."
"A lot of guys shy away from other guitar players who are better than them. I've never been that way. I listened to all the other guys, but I never wanted to play like them. Like I tell a lot of people, I change a few notes, but I've been playing the same way because I always wanted to keep my own style and always be Albert Collins."
Albert Collins (October 1, 1932 – November 24, 1993) was an American electric blues guitarist and singer (and occasional harmonica player) whose recording career began in the 1960s in Houston and whose fame eventually took him to stages across the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. He had many nicknames, such as "The Ice Man", "The Master of the Telecaster" and "The Razor Blade".
Born in Leona, Texas, Collins was a distant relative of Lightnin' Hopkins and grew up learning about music and playing guitar. His family moved to Houston, Texas when he was seven. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, he absorbed the blues sounds and styles from Texas, Mississippi and Chicago. His style would soon envelop these sounds. He regularly named John Lee Hooker and organist Jimmy McGriff, along with Hopkins, Guitar Slim and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown as major influences on his playing.
He formed his first band in 1952 and two years later was the headliner at several blues clubs in Houston. By the late 1950s Collins began using Fender Telecasters. He later chose a "maple-cap" 1966 Custom Fender Telecaster with a Gibson PAF humbucker in the neck position and a 100 watt RMS silverfaced 1970s Fender Quad Reverb combo as his main equipment, and developed a unique sound featuring minor tunings, sustained notes and an "attack" fingerstyle. He also frequently used a capo on his guitar, particularly on the 5th, 7th, and 9th frets. He primarily favored an "open F-minor" tuning (low to high: F-C-F-Ab-C-F). In the booklet from the CD Ice Pickin, it was stated that Albert tuned to a "D minor D-A-D-F-A-D" Tuning. He played without a pick, using his thumb and first finger. Collins credited his unusual tuning to his cousin, Willow Young, who taught it to him.
Collins began recording in 1958 and released singles, including many instrumentals such as the million selling "Frosty" (1962), on Texas-based labels such as Kangaroo and Hall-Way. A number of these singles were collected on the album The Cool Sounds Of Albert Collins on the TCF Hall label (later reissued on the Blue Thumb label as Truckin’ With Albert Collins.) In the spring of 1965 he moved to Kansas City, Missouri and made a name for himself there. This was also where he met his future wife, Gwendolyn.
Many of Kansas City's recording studios had closed by the mid 1960s. Unable to record, Collins moved to California in 1967. He lived in Palo Alto, California for a short time before moving to Los Angeles and played many of the West Coast venues popular with the counter-culture. In early 1969 after playing a concert with Canned Heat, members of this band introduced him to Liberty Records. In appreciation, Collins' first album title, Love Can Be Found Anywhere, was taken from the lyrics of "Fried Hockey Boogie". Collins signed and released his first album on Imperial Records, a sister label, in 1968.
Collins remained in California for another five years, and was popular on double-billed shows at The Fillmore and the Winterland. He was signed to Alligator Records in 1977 and recorded and released Ice Pickin'. He would record seven more albums with the label, before being signed to Point Blank Records in 1990.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Collins toured the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. He was becoming a popular blues musician and was an influence for Coco Montoya, Robert Cray, Gary Moore, Debbie Davies, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jonny Lang, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayer and Frank Zappa.
In 1983, when he won the W. C. Handy Award for his album Don't Lose Your Cool, which won the award for Best Blues Album of the Year. In 1987, he shared a Grammy for the album Showdown! (released in 1986) which he recorded with Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland. The following year his solo release Cold Snap was also nominated for a Grammy. In 1987, John Zorn enlisted him to play lead guitar in a suite he had composed especially for him, entitled "Two-Lane Highway," on Zorn's album Spillane .
Alongside George Thorogood and the Destroyers and Bo Diddley, Collins performed at Live Aid in 1985, playing "The Sky Is Crying" and "Madison Blues", at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. He was the only black blues artist to appear.
In 1987, Collins made a cameo appearance in the film Adventures in Babysitting, he insisted to Elisabeth Shue that "nobody leaves this place without singin' the blues", forcing the children to improvise a song before escaping.
Collins was invited to play at the 'Legends Of Guitar Festival' concerts in Seville, Spain at the Expo in 1992, where amongst others, he played "Iceman", the title track from his final studio album.
After falling ill at a show in Switzerland in late July 1993, he was diagnosed in mid August with lung cancer which had metastasized to his liver, with an expected survival time of four months. Parts of his last album, Live '92/'93, were recorded at shows that September; he died shortly afterwards, in November at the age of 61. He was survived by his wife, Gwendolyn. He is interred at the Davis Memorial Park, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Collins has influenced many artists and did collaborations with Ronnie Wood, Jimmy Page, Robert Cray, Keith Richards, Johnny Nitro, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, B. B. King, Larry Carlton and Eric Clapton.
He is also remembered for his humorous stage presence, which was recounted in the film documentary, Antones: Austin's Home of the Blues. Collins got into a long solo one night at Antone's, then left the building, still plugged in and playing. Several minutes after Collins returned to the stage, a pizza delivery man came in and gave Collins the pizza he had just ordered when he left the building.
Wikipedia contributors. "Albert Collins." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 Sep. 2011. Web. 30 Sep. 2011.