Earl King – "Street Parade" – Charly Records – 1972/1982
Earl King, like Lee Dorsey, like Ernie K-Doe, barely registers a pulse with many music lovers, especially outside of New Orleans – these forgotten gems are one of the city’s great artistic tragedies. And without King, the music world wouldn’t have “Trick Bag,” "I Hear You Knocking," "Let the Good Times Roll,” and "Big Chief" and so much more.
King, a great guitar player in his own right, probably also suffered having the same last name as three other giants of blues music – Albert, B.B., and Freddie – but his style, the one he was best at, wasn’t really similar to those three. Much more rooted in R&B, Earl King was a man of many talents, an accomplished songwriter, producer and arranger.
The album has those great soul-dipped chords and King’s slow and easy and bluesy sound, along with his distinctive guitar work that accompany great songwriting. These aren’t songs with wailing guitar solos; instead, King is slick and clean. The title track alone makes this an essential must-have, but add “Mama and Papa,” “This Is What I Call Living,” “Do the Grind” and it’s a no-brainer.
Take a wild gander who helped put this one together? Yep, Allen Toussaint and the Meters again (Meters drummer Zigaboo Modeliste is very apparent). Recorded at Sea Saint Studios in New Orleans in 1972, this album, which Atlantic had planned to release but then dropped it -- the album didn’t surface officially until 1982 when the British label published it -- shows again how rich the talent pool was in New Orleans in the '70s.