My good friend Darrell Marecle recently shared with me a new CD by real blues guitarist Little Freddie King aptly called Fried Rice & Chicken.
Freddie was born in McComb in 1940, and grew up playing alongside his guitar picking father, Jessie James Martin. In the early 1950s, before he knew what was around the bend, the youngster was jumping train and riding to New Orleans where he met fellow ramblers “Poka-Dot” Slim and “Boogie” Bill Webb who were mixing country blues with urban gutter-style rock. Freddie played notorious clubs like “Bucket of Blood” (which he later immoralized in song) but he was in good company, jamming with Bo Didley and John Lee Hooker.
He also played bass for Freddy King while in the Big Easy. Freddie was also a cousin to Lightnin’ Hopkins. In 1995, when he released his solo debut recording “Swamp Boogie” on Orleans Records King appeared at major European and American Blues festivals. King also appeared on TV in HBO’s “Treme” and on NCIS: New Orleans. “Cleo’s Back,” and the opening track from “Swamp Boogie” was featured in the 2011 Tom Hanks/Sandra Bullock movie “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”
King has played the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival each year for the last 43 years. He is a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and was honored with a Mississippi Blues Trail marker.
With Rice and Chicken, he comes across as a man who has no plans to slow down. The 59-year-old bluesman has included tracks culled from his 1990s recordings Swamp Boogie (released 1996) and the live Sing Sang Sung (released 2000). This is the blues just as I like them — raw, coarse and a little dirty — like all blues used to be.
My favorite cuts are “Mean Little Woman,” “I Use to be Down,” and the classic “Bad Chicken.”