The final volume in Bear Family's excellent Freddie King retrospective covering his final years is the one with the most surprises. Over the course of five CDs, the producers of this box have included all of RSO studio recordings and the funky soul-blues of King's Polydor album, Burglar, which Eric Clapton fans covet so much because he was listed as a second guitarist. Burglar was produced by Mike Vernon (with Tom Dowd producing a track) and another studio band that included bassist Carl Radle. Several of the album's outtakes and a studio version of Jimmy Rogers' "That's All Right" see release here for the first time. The second disc kicks off with the live Larger Than Life album. What's remarkable is that instead of the fade out on "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," the rest of the track and concert performance is provided as well. The other discs are all live. Sound quality ranges from very good to excellent; none of this stuff is bootleg material (it would be beneath Bear Family's exacting standards). The final cut on disc five is another previously hidden gem taken from a gig where Clapton sings "Further on Up the Road." The liner essay by Bill Dahl is not only informative, it's authoritative. The hardbound book includes loads of photos and a completely detailed sessionography.
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