Blues Bytes


August 2018

Little Freddie King
 Fried Rice & Chicken
Orleans Records

Little Freddie King

Orleans Records recently released Fried Rice & Chicken, a collection which compiles the finest moments from the label’s two 1990s releases from the venerable New Orleans (via McComb, Mississippi) blues man, Little Freddie King. King released Swamp Boogie in 1995 and the live Sing Sang Sung in 2000 for the label, and this new release includes six songs from the former and five songs from the latter. It is also the first release of this material on vinyl.

The first six tracks come from Swamp Boogie and they include the raw, lowdown, and funky instrumental opener, “Cleo’s Back,” the traditional slow blues “Mean Little Woman,” the raucous, mostly instrumental “The Great Chinese,” a very loose version of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say,” “Kinky Cotton Fields,” an instrumental interpretation reading of Leadbelly’s “Cotton Fields,” that should have gone on a bit longer, and “I Use To Be Down,” which has that great, loping Jimmy Reed rhythm going for it, even borrowing a verse from Reed’s “Down In Virginia” about midway through.

The remaining five tracks are from Sing Sang Sung, so listeners get to hear both sides of King, which is great because King is known for his live performances and he doesn’t disappoint with these selections. The spirited instrumental, “Sing Sang Sung,” puts things in motion, and the atmospheric “Do She Ever Think Of Me” is a keeper as well. King pays tribute to his namesake with a crisp take on “Hideaway,” and revisits Reed with a slow burning reading of “Honest I Do.”

The closing tune is the crowd pleaser, “Bad Chicken,” and King pours on some dandy chicken-picking guitar, along with the occasional rooster crow.

Fans who like their blues raw, loose, and funky will want to get their hands on Fried Rice & Chicken, an excellent representation of Little Freddie King in the studio and on the stage. At either location, he’s still one of the most unique performers in the blues world.

--- Graham Clarke




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