The King Brothers “Get Up And Shake It”
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro, © September 2016.
King. Has there ever been a surname more synonymous with the blues than that? Of course not! Why just telling you a little bit about the many Kings of the genre would take me well over an hour, but since you already know about most of them, let me introduce you to two that you may not yet be that familiar with – they are Lee and Sam King, a.k.a. The King Brothers. Now should you be wondering about their blood lines, the answer is “Yes”! They are second cousins of the late and great Freddie King.
“Get Up And Shake It“, the siblings’ third release, consists of ten songs. Three of those are written by Lee and Sam and the other seven – as “Nothing But The Blues” radio show host Gary “The Wagman” Wagner states – are “Blues standards done King Brothers’ style”. The lineup on the project is: Lee King on guitar and lead & background vocals; Sam King on drums and background vocals; Ellis Hall on keyboards; Al Threats on bass; and Michael Fell on harmonica.
The first of the original tracks is a jazz influenced instrumental titled “Just Driving Around“. It’s a six and a half minute long jam that’s an outstanding introduction to the bands musical talents. There’s absolutely nothing flashy about it, and from what I’m hearing, no flash necessary. It’s just four (I believe Michael sat this one out) musical maestros doing their thing. I’ve actually played this one four times so far and since I can’t type while snapping my fingers, I’ve been on this paragraph for over 30 (very pleasant) minutes. As the saying goes, “this’s one’s worth the price of admission”.
As he tells his lady “Everything you do to me is ‘Just The Way I Like It“‘, you can clearly hear the happiness in Lee King’s voice. Sounds to me like he’s one lucky guy. This is another original track and it features Lee being back up with a whole lot of funk. That said, Sam, Ellis and Al are smokin’ it on the drums, keys and bass.
On Willie Dixon’s “Close To You“, I’m now understanding what “The Wagman” meant. This is a traditional blues song done in a partly traditional, partly contemporary and partly funky way…..a.k.a “The King Brothers way”. Lee’s soulful and gritty vocals, Michael’s smoking harp leads and the straight up and very tight rhythm that Sam and Al are locked into, are all right out of Chicago; Then there’s Ellis, with his wonderfully contrasting piano and organ leads, taking the song elsewhere. Another great track.
The title track is the last of the three originals. For the dancers, this has to be the bands best song. It’s seven and a half minutes of rapid rhythm guitar licks, fiercely funky bass lines, hard drivin’ drum beats, and outrageous organ leads that will surely cause you to “Get Up And Shake It“. Not just a smoker but a three alarmer at that.
The disc closes with a cover of cousin Freddie King’s “Tore Down“. Having toured with him, the King Brothers have the song down pat and more than did it justice. As with all the other tracks, the rhythm section is once again a highlight, but it’s Lee’s straight up, ass kickin’ guitar licks that steal this one.
Other tracks on “Get Up And Shake It” include: “Rock Me Baby“, “Hound Dog“, “Hoochie Coochie Man“, “Blind Snake” and “Bigg (sic) Legged Woman“. To learn more about the King Brothers check out their website….. www.kingbrothersplaytheblues.com. I’ve also included the one sheet in the form of an attachment. It includes a bit of a bio and a real cool explanation as to why their style of blues is “danceable and rock, funk and Gospel flavored. You can also follow the band on Lee King’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lee.king.bluesman and for booking or CD requests you can contact Angie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you do, please tell him the Blewzzman sent you.
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient