Memphis-based left-handed guitar player Little Jimmy King was one of the most exciting blues players to emerge on the scene in the '90s. King was born December 4, 1968, as Manuel Gales but renamed himself for his two favorite guitar heroes, Jimi Hendrix and Albert King. He got started as a rock & roller, but by the mid-'80s had switched to blues. By 1988, he had left the Memphis blues scene to go on the road with his hero as part of Albert King's band. The late Albert King called Little Jimmy his grandson, and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan also had high praise for the young guitarist. In a moment King will never forget, Vaughan told him: "Play on, brother, you've got it. Don't stop playing for nobody."
King's self-titled debut was released in 1991 on the Rounder Bullseye Blues label, and he followed it up in 1994 with Something Inside of Me, on which he's accompanied by former Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris "Whipper" Layton. King can also be heard playing guitar on Ann Peebles' Full Time Love and Otis Clay's I'll Treat You Right and On My Way Home. King's 1995 record with his two guitar playing brothers, Eric Gales and Eugene Gales, Left Hand Brand was released by the House of Blues label in 1995. While the brothers often played gigs together, Left Hand Brand is the only album they made. In 1997 King released his third record for Bullseye Blues, the Willie Mitchell produced Soldier for the Blues.
Little Jimmy King died suddenly on July 19, 2002 after suffering a heart attack at the young age of 34. King's live shows, as documented on 2002's Live at Monterey, like his three highly praised studio recordings for Bullseye Blues, were full of fire and fury, passionate guitar playing within the context of his band, the Memphis Soul Survivors, great vocals, and clever songs. His presence and playing are sure to be missed.
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