Albert Collins

Albert Collins was born on October 3,1932 in Leona, Texas. He moved to Houston in 1941 and began playing piano and organ. After his piano was stolen he picked up the guitar. He began to listen to the music of T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Guitar Slim, B.B. King, and Freddy King. Also his cousin, Lightnin' Hopkins, and John Lee Hooker were influences. In 1952 he picked up a Fender Esquire and began to develop the "cool" sound. Collins became friends with the Third Ward Blues musicians, Joe Hughes, Johnny Copeland, and James "Widemouth" Brown. He began gigging in clubs with his band.

In 1958, Albert put out his first album, "Freeze." Collins toured all over the U.S. and Japan. He would always work while on tour to earn extra cash. At one point he became disgusted with the guitar and quit to work construction for Neil Diamond. Collins was featured chillin' and killin' on his Telecaster in the popular 80s movie "Adventures in Babysitting." From 1977 to 1987 were the best years of his career. Collins played with everyone from Eric Clapton to David Bowie to Stevie Ray Vaughn, and received every major award the blues world had to offer. Collins always called himself "no big thing" and he said that his music "ain't nothin' but the blues". In fact, Albert Collins was the baddest, coolest, blackest, blusiest, guitar-slinger the blues world ever saw. On November 23, 1993, Albert Collins passed away due to lung cancer....but it's alright because he proved his point.




  • Live '92/'93 (1995)
  • Collin Mix: His Best (1993)
  • Cold Snap (1986)
  • Showdown (1985)
  • Live In Japan (1984)
  • Don't Lose Your Cool (1983)
  • Frozen Alive (1981)
  • Frostbite (1980)
  • Ice Pickin' (1978)
  • There's Gotta Be a Change (1972)
  • Truckin' With Albert Collins (1969)
  • Trash Talkin' (1968)
  • The Cool Sounds of Albert Collins (1964)








Albert Collins' Quotes


Simple Music
"I was told when I started to play that simple music is the hardest music in the world to play. And blues is simple music."


Other Guitar Players
"A lot of guys shy away from other guitar players who are better than them. I've never been that way. I listened to all the other guys, but I never wanted  to play like them. Like I tell a lot of people, I change a few notes, but I've been playing the same way because I always wanted to keep my own style and always be Albert Collins."


That Hum
"Most of the time I hum what I'm playing so sometimes it bleeds through on the track. That's why I get hoarse sometimes when I try to sing, I'll be humming my notes, and I'm not always aware of how hard I'm doing it. That's really how I started playing, just with my mouth."


The Energy
"I hear so many blues records and a lot of it's not dance music. That has a lot to do with your concerts. People say 'I can dance to this, let's go see him in person'. Because I'm playing for younger audiences, I always try to keep that energy happening."

His Roots
"In Texas, I was raised up around those kind of sax players like Illinois Jacquet. Down there there's blues and jazz and R&B. I had a choice to make when I started out, so I decided to play blues."


Day Jobs
"Before I really got started with music, I mixed paint for automobiles for six years. That was back in Texas, before I came to the west coast. When I cut "Frosty" in 1962, I didn't follow it up. I never traveled because I had a regular day job at home."


Hard Times
"Around 1974 to 1975 I quit for a minute and I didn't record for six years from 1972 to '78. For about a year, I stopped playing completely. My landlord was a contractor, and I started doing work with him. My wife told me 'this ain't you, you've got to keep up with your music' which I'm proud of her for telling me that."


Using A Capo
"I got the idea for the capo from Gatemouth Brown. I started without one, but I looked at Gatemouth and said, "Man, you're using that choker." We used to call it a choker. Now I can't play without one." (Albert tuned his guitar to an F minor chord instead of the regular tuning.)


His Sound
"I get most of my sound from the amp that I use and I always like to use my own amp- a 100 watt Quad Reverb I've been using since 1972. I always put the volume all the way up on 10, treble on 10, middle on 10 and I don't use bass, intensity or none of that. Reverb I set at 4.



(Excerpts and pics were assembled from internet and personal resources.)



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