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David Dean White with The Mo Joes / Blog

Albert King

Albert King was born Albert Nelson, on April 25, 1923, in Indianola, Mississippi. This was the same location known as the birthplace of his namesake Riley (B.B.) King, and though the two were not related, Albert would sometimes claim that B.B. was his half-brother. One of 13 children, King grew up learning the life of picking cotton on the plantations near Osceola, Arkansas, where the family moved to in 1931. His first introduction to music would be singing in church and listening to his father, Will Nelson, play guitar. Another early influence came from the family's records where a young Albert would spend hours attempting to copy the sounds of Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson on his homemade cigar box guitars and diddley-bows. King obtained his first real guitar in 1942. He was fascinated by the playing of the Blues musicians that frequented nearby West Memphis, Arkansas, most notably the works of Robert Nighthawk and Elmore James, and Albert decided that playing this style of music would be his desired calling