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Albert Collins

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Albert Collins (October 1, 1932 — November 24, 1993) was a blues guitarist, singer and musician. He had many nicknames, such as “The Ice Man”, “The Master of the Telecaster” and “The Razor Blade”.

Born in Leona, Texas, Collins was a distant relative of Lightnin’ Hopkins and grew up learning about music and playing guitar. His family moved to Houston, Texas when he was seven. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, he absorbed the blues sounds and styles from Texas, Mississippi and Chicago. His style would soon envelop these sounds.

He formed his first band in 1952 and two years later was the headliner at several blues clubs in Houston. By the late 1950s Collins began using Fender Telecasters. He later chose a “maple-cap” 1966 Custom Fender Telecaster with a Gibson PAF humbucker in the neck position and a 100 watt RMS silverfaced 1970s Fender Quad Reverb combo as his main equipment, and developed a unique sound featuring minor tunings, sustained notes and an “attack” fingerstyle. He also frequently used a capo on his guitar, particularly on the 5th, 7th, and 9th frets. He primarily favored an “open F-minor” tuning (low to high: F-C-F-Ab-C-F).

Collins began recording in 1960 and released singles, including many instrumentals such as the million selling “Frosty”. In the spring of 1965 he moved to Kansas City, Missouri and made a name for himself.

Many of Kansas City’s recording studios had closed by the mid 1960s. Unable to record, Collins moved to California in 1967. He settled in San Francisco and played many of the venues popular with the counter-culture.

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