It is now 1962 and Freddie was still riding the crest of success from his King recordings. Freddie King was hotter than molten steel. But with success comes the down side. Freddie Loved the Chicago night life. Gambling til dawn in the backroom of Mike's cleaners and getting into mischief with his cronies.My mother was now a housewife with six children. She didn't like what the Chicago nightlife was doing to her husband, it provided to many distractions. The fall of 1962 she left her husband and she and her six children moved to Dallas Texas. After she arrived in Dallas she called Syd Nathan demanding that he send her royalties that she knew her husband was entitled to. She stated that she needed it for her children and herself to start a new life. Nathan proved to be a few notches above the other record company owners of this period. He sent my mother two thousand dollars. My mother place a down payment on a house. It did not take my father long to realize that his family was not returning to Chicago. Freddie left his beloved Chicago and joined his wife and children in Dallas in the spring of 1963. Freddie's move to Texas proved to be a blessing in disguise.
Freddie began fine tuning his vocals he evolved from a B.B. king singing style to his own more soulful sound. Music was changing and so was he. He was experimenting with and incorporating different types of music. Freddie's contract with King ended in 1966. Gone were the big name revues and national tour packages, but Freddie continued to draw pack houses where ever he performed black and white clubs.
He got an opportunity in 1966 to do a series of appearances on a R&B program called "The!!!Beat". The Beat had this 60's "Mod"look that featured a house band lead by Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, artists like Otis Redding, Etta James, Little Milton, Carla Thomas, and Louis Jordan. to name a few appeared weekly. These appearance caught the attention of Atlantic Records front man King Curtis.
In 1968 Freddie signed a contract with Cotillion Records a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. Two albums were released:
Freddie king is a Blues master
My Feeling for the Blues
Both releases were soulful and funky and showcased his singing talents,both albums had moderate success. Freddie was disappointed in the lack of success in the two releases. His spirits was soon lifted with the success of his first overseas tour in 1968. He was originally booked for a month and it was extended to three. He was amazed by his popularity in England, a new generation of young white musicians like Eric Clapton,MickTaylor, and others were trying to emulate Freddie King. In 1969 Freddie hires a new manager Jack Calmes. Jack is young, white and part of the "counter culture" that has discovered the blues. Jack helped orchestrate Freddie's career into high gear with the 1969 Texas Pop Festival,there he shared billing with Led Zeppelin, Sly and the family stone,Ten years After, B.B. King, among others, " Led Zeppelin's guys were standing there watching him perform with their mouth open" Jack said. Calmes secured a contract deal for Freddie with Leon Russell's new label Shelter Records . Leon had been a fan of Freddie's sizzling guitar style for years. Leon was now creating the Oklahoma blues culture with the start up of his own label. Leon Russell record label included Joe Cocker and The Nitty Gitty Dirt Band. Leon spared no expense the sessions were top shelf he flew the studio crew to Chicago and recorded the first album "Getting Ready" at the old Chess Records studio. Freddie was allowed to showcase his showmanship, Leon wanted the listening audience to experience the brilliance and raw essences of Freddie King. Shelter was the perfect springbroad for Freddie's style of blues, hard driving and in your face. This collaboration put Freddie into the mainstream of the white blues /rock explosion. The release of "Getting Ready" produced Freddie's signature blues/rock hit "Going Down".
Getting Ready 1971 SW8905
The Texas Cannonball 1972 SW8913
Woman Across The River 1973 SW8921
Freddie was now touring the Filmore circuit opening for acts like Grand Funk Railroad ( who referenced to playing poker with Freddie King all night long in their hit song " We are an American band" and Creedence Clearwater Revival and others. His touring with Eric Clapton formed a great Friendship between the two. Eric was living out a life long dream to perform side by side with one of his blues heroes. Freddie soon sign with Clapton's label RSO. Three albums were released:
Burglar 1974 SO4803
Freddie King Larger Than Life 1975 SO4811
Freddie King 1934-1976 Polydor/Polygram Records 831817-2
Freddie began feeling the years of roads traveled.but he continued to tour 300 days out of the year. He was like a man on a mission. He burn the candle at both ends. He soon developed an ulcer. His heatlh continued to deteriate and on December 28 1976 he died from complications of an acute ulcers and pancreatitis.
Twentyfive years after his death. Freddie King blazing blues continues to influence young muscians and stir the hearts of blues lovers every where. In 1993 by proclamation from the Texas Governor Ann Richards September 3, 1993, was declared Freddie King Day. This is a honor reserved for Lone Star legends such as Bob Wills, and Buddy Holly. Texas will always keep a blues light burning for the Texas Cannon ball Freddie King ...
Growing up in Texas
Sweet Home Chicago
All rights reserved by The Estate of Freddie King