Albert Collins

Albert Collins

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Albert Collins

Img_capt = Albert Collins playing live in 1990
Img_size = 250
Landscape = Yes
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = birth date|1932|10|01
Leona, Texas, US
Died = Dda|1993|11|24|1932|10|01
Instrument = Guitar
Genre = Blues
Occupation = Musician, Songwriter
Years_active = 1952 - 1993
Label = Alligator
Associated_acts =
Notable_instruments = Fender Telecaster

Albert Collins (October 1 1932November 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". [ All Music Guide biography] ]


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. In early 1969 after playing a concert with Canned Heat, members of this band introduced him to Liberty Records. In appreciation, Collins’ first record title for United Artists "Love Can Be Found Anywhere", was taken from the lyrics of "Refried Hockey Boogie". Collins signed and released his first album on Imperial Records, a sister label, in 1968.

Collins remained in California for another five years, and was popular on double-billed shows at The Fillmore and the Winterland. Collins moved back to Texas in 1973 and formed a new band. He was signed to Alligator Records in 1978 and recorded and released "Ice Pickin"'. He would record seven more albums with the label, before being signed to Point Blank Records in 1990.

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Collins toured the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. He was becoming a popular blues musician and was an influence for Coco Montoya, Robert Cray, Gary Moore, Debbie Davies, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jonny Lang, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayer and Frank Zappa.

In 1983, when he won the W. C. Handy Award for his album "Don't Lose Your Cool", which won the award for best blues album of the year. In 1985, he shared a Grammy for the album "Showdown!", which he recorded with Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland. The following year his solo release "Cold Snap" was also nominated for a Grammy. In 1987, John Zorn enlisted him to play lead guitar in a suite he had composed especially for him, entitled "Two-Lane Highway," on Zorn's album "Spillane".

Alongside George Thorogood and the Destroyers and Bo Diddley, Collins performed at "Live Aid" in 1985, playing "The Sky Is Crying" and "Madison Blues", at the JFK Stadium. He was the only black blues artist to appear. Collins was invited to play at the 'Legends Of Guitar Festival' concerts in Seville, Spain at the Expo in 1992, where amongst others, he played "Iceman", the title track from his final studio album.

He made his last visit to London, England in March 1993.cite book
first= Tony
last= Russell
year= 1997
title= The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray
publisher= Carlton Books Limited
location= Dubai
pages= p. 82-83
id= ISBN 1-85868-255-X

After falling ill at a show in Switzerland in late July 1993, he was diagnosed in mid August with lung cancer which had metastasized to his liver, with an expected survival time of four months. Parts of his last album, "Live '92/'93", were recorded at shows that September; he died shortly afterwards, in November at the age of 61. He was survived by his wife, Gwendolyn and father, Andy Thomas. [ [ Albert Collins, blues great, dies of cancer in Las Vegas - guitar player and vocalist - obituary - Brief Article, Jet, Dec 13, 1993] ] He is interred at the Davis Memorial Park, Las Vegas, Nevada. [ [ - accessed February 2008] ]

Collins will be remembered not only for the quantity of quality blues music that he put out throughout his career that has inspired so many other blues musicians, but also for his legendary live performances, where he would frequently come down from the stage and mingle with the audience whilst still playing. This practice was illustrated in Collins' uncredited cameo appearance in the film "Adventures in Babysitting". He insisted to Elisabeth Shue that "nobody leaves this place without singin' the blues", forcing the children to improvise a song before escaping.

Another instance of Collins' humorous stage presence was recounted in the film documentary, "Antones: Austin's Home of the Blues". Collins left the building, still plugged in and playing. Several minutes after Collins returned to the stage, a pizza delivery man came in and gave Collins the pizza he had just ordered when he left the building. Collins had gone to Milto's Pizza & Pasta through an adjoining alley and ordered while he was still playing.

Fender Albert Collins Signature Telecaster

The Fender Custom Shop created an accurate replica of the "Ice Man"'s namesake '66 Custom Telecaster in 1990. This guitar featured a double-bound swamp ash body, a custom-shaped maple neck sporting a separate laminated maple fingerboard with 21 vintage frets, a custom-wound Seymour Duncan '59 humbucker in the neck position and a Fender Texas Special Tele single-coil in the bridge.



* "Freeze" / "Collins' Shuffle" (Kangaroo KA-103/104)
* "Lonely Heart" / "True Love" (Great Scott 1008)
* "Soulroad" / "I Don't Know" (Tracie 2003)
* "Defrost" / "Albert's Alley" (Hall-Way 1795)
* "Sippin' Soda" / "Homesick" (Hall-Way 1831)
* "Frosty" / "Tremble" (Hall 1920)
* "Thaw-out" / "Backstroke" (Hall 1925)
* "Sno-Cone Part I" / "Sno-Cone Part II" (TCF Hall 104)
* "Dyin' Flu" / "Hot 'n Cold" (TCF Hall 116)
* "Don't Lose Your Cool" / "Frostbite" (TCF Hall 127)
* "Cookin' Catfish" / "Taking my Time" (20th Century 45-6708)
* "Ain't Got Time" / "Got a Good Thing Goin'" (Imperial 66351)
* "Do the Sissy" / "Turnin' On" (Imperial 66391)
* "Conversation with Collins" / "And Then it Started Raining" (Imperial 66412)
* "Coon 'n Collards" / "Do What You Want to Do" (Liberty 56184)
* "Get Your Business Straight" / "Frog Jumpin'" (Tumbleweed 1002) - 1972 - Black Singles #46 [ AMG discography] ]
* "Eight Days on the Road" / "Stickin'" (Tumbleweed 1007)
* "Blues for Stevie" / "Guitars that Rule the World" (1994)


Official Albums

* 1968 "Love Can Be Found Anywhere (Even In A Guitar)" (Imperial LP-12428)
* 1969 "Trash Talkin"' (Imperial LP-12438)
* 1970 "The Compleat Albert Collins" (Imperial LP-12449)
* 1971 "There's Gotta Be A Change" (Tumbleweed 103) - Billboard 200 #196
* 1978 "Ice Pickin"' (Alligator 4713)
* 1979 "Albert Collins and Barrelhouse Live" (Munich 225)
* 1980 "Frostbite" (Alligator 4719)
* 1981 "Frozen Alive" (Alligator 4725)
* 1983 "Don't Lose Your Cool" (Alligator 4730)
* 1983 "Jammin With Albert" - with Rory Gallagher.
* 1984 "Live In Japan" (Alligator 4733)
* 1985 "Showdown!" (Alligator 4743) - with Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland - Billboard 200 #124
* 1986 "Cold Snap" (Alligator 4752)
* 1991 "Iceman" (Pointblank VPBCD 3)
* 1993 "Collins Mix: His Best" (Pointblank 39097) - not a compilation
* 1995 "Live '92/'93" (Pointblank 40658) - Top Blues Albums #5
* 2000 "Live At The Fillmore West" (Catfish 156)
* 2005 "The Iceman at Mount Fuji" (Fuel2000 061457)
* 2008 "Albert Collins: Live At Montreux 1992" (Eagle Records B0012IWINQ)

Compilation Albums

* 1965 "The Cool Sounds of Albert Collins" (TCF Hall 8002) - compilation
* 1969 "Truckin' With Albert Collins" (Blue Thumb BTS-8) - re-release of "The Cool Sounds of Albert Collins"

Bootleg Albums

* 1971 "Alive & Cool" (Red Lightnin' 004) - bootleg

Guest work

*Gary Moore - "Still Got the Blues", "After Hours" and "Blues Alive"
*David Bowie - "Underground" and "Labyrinth"
*Jack Bruce - "A Question of Time"
*John Mayall - "Wake Up Call"
*B. B. King - "Blues Summit"
*Robert Cray - "Shame and a Sin"
*Branford Marsalis - "Super Models in Deep Conversation"
*John Lee Hooker - "Mr Lucky"
*John Zorn - "Spillane"


* 2003 "The Iceman at Mount Fuji" (Varese 061299)
* 2003 "In Concert: One Filter" (Music Video Distributors 6526)
* 2005 "Albert Collins: Warner Bros. Classics" (Warner Brothers 9086390)
* 2008 "Albert Collins: Live At Montreux 1992" (Eagle Rock Entertainment B0012IWNYU)


* 1987 "Adventures in Babysitting" (as himself). He plays and sings back-up on "Babysitting Blues."

ee also

*List of blues musicians
*List of R&B musicians
*List of guitarists
*List of Telecaster players
*List of people from Texas
*Bentonia School (blues)
*Six Strings Down


External links

* [ Albert Collins: The Ice Man Cometh]
* [ Albert Collins]
* [ Includes reviews of many of his albums]
* [ Fender Players Club - Albert Collins]
* [ IMDb:Adventures in Babysitting]
* [ Kayos Productions]
* [ Eagle Rock Entertainment]
* [,com_musicbox/task,viewAuth/Itemid,26/id,33/ Albert Collins at]

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