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kenny weir

Earl King RIP

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US: R&B legend Earl King dead at 69 US King

NEW ORLEANS, April 18 AP - Earl King, the prolificsong writer and guitarist responsible for some of the most enduring and idiosyncratic compositions in the history of R&B, has died from diabetes-related complications. He was 69.

Over his 50-year career, King wrote and recorded hundreds of songs.

His best-known compositions include the Mardi Gras standards ``Big Chief'' and ``Street Parade''; the rollicking ``Come On (Let the Good Times Roll),'' which both Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan recorded; and``Trick Bag,'' the quintessential New Orleans R&B story-song.

'''Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)' might be the one that people know, but I wish the world would hear more of his songs,'' said Mac ``Dr John'' Rebennack, a long time friend, fan and collaborator of King.

``He approached songs from different angles, from different places in life.''

In his prime, he was an explosive performer, tearing sinewy solos from his Stratocaster guitar and wearing his hair in an elaborate, upraised coif.

King's songwriting was informed by syncopated New Orleans beats and his interest in a broad range of subjects, from medieval history to the vagaries of the human heart and his own so-called ``love syndromes''.

``Most people say, 'Well, Earl, you sing the blues,'or however they want to categorise it,'' King said in a1993 interview.

``I just sing songs. I'm a writer, so whatever gymnastics jump through my head, I write about it.''

Born Earl Silas Johnson IV, King described himself as a ``nervous energy person'' who constantly needed to be engaged in some creative pursuit.

He cut his first singles in the early 1950s, taking on the stage name ``Earl King'' at the suggestion of a record promoter.

Scenes and acquaintances from his life often found their way into his lyrics with little editing. A story King's grandmother told about his father, a blues pianist who died when King was a boy, inspired ``TrickBag''.

In the song, the protagonist sings to his wayward significant other, ``I saw you kissing Willie across the fence, I heard you telling Willie I don't have no sense/The way you been actin' is such a drag, you done put me in a trick bag.''

King died yesterday and funeral arrangements had not been finalised late this evening.

AP

EarlKing.jpg

Edited by kenny weir

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I had the pleasure of playing in Earl's band when he came to Austin several years ago. Great showman, guitarist and of course legendary songwriter. Going to eat breakfast with him after the show was one experience I'll never forget. A real legend.

Really sad to hear this news.

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Very sorry to read this. My favorite Earl King recordings were the things he did for Ace, but he was able to keep his music fresh through the years, something that isn't always true of musicians in the popular music genre. Glazed, the album he recorded with Roomful of Blues, done thirty years after his first records, is a fine one. "Love Rent" is a personal favorite from that record.

Soul Stream - It must have been cool to have played a gig with Earl King and to have hung out with him afterward.

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Sorry to hear about this.

One correction: Let the Good Times Roll. at least the song Ray Charles is associated with, was written by Sam Theard (aka Spo-dee-o-dee).

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That's the wrong "good times roll"...it's not the one you refer to that Ray did. Earl's was "Come On Baby, Let The Good Times Roll," sometimes call "Come On" also. Stevie and Jimi Hendriz had the most famous versions of Earl's song. I still remember playing it with Earl himself as he walked through the club and out into the parking lot, playing his guitar all the while! He was wild, and a real sweet guy too. I've had about 10 calls this morning telling me about Earl's death (and I didn't get home until 4 from the gig!) Anyway, sad to hear....but I'm glad I got a chance to play with him.

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I thought that might be the caase--thanks for the clarification.

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I would have loved to hear his Guitar Slim stories.Adios to this great blues royalty.

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Yes, Earl King was a real voice in the blues, R&B, and the New Orleans sound. We won't be able to replace him anytime soon.

RIP

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