Lost Christmas Treasures: Freddy King – “Christmas Tears”

This year’s Christmas Lost Treasures is from Dec 1961 on Federal Records by blues guitar legend Freddy King.  “Christmas Tears” was one of the few vocal records by this artist mostly known for blistering instrumentals such as “Hide Away” “San-Ho-Zay” “The Stumble”.  Freddy moved with his family to the south side of Chicago while very young & it’s here he made his mark while playing in minor bands while working in a steel mill.  By the mid-50’s he was working as a sideman to Eddie Taylor, Hound Dog Taylor, pianist Memphis Slim,the mighty Howlin’ Wolf & harmonica player Little Walter.  In spite of being constantly rejected by Chess/Checker Records located on the city’s South Side, he eventually ended up recording for a few minor labels before coming to the attention of Federal Records at the turn of the 60’s.  Freddy started charting on the R&B Top 100, but his career really took off in the late 60’s during the ‘blues revival’ that was part of the underground music scene.  King Curtis arranged to have him signed to Atlantic Records, where he recorded 2 albums, then ended up on Leon Russell’s Shelter Records in the 70’s.  During these years he performed alongside rock icons such as Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton & Grand Funk Railroad who revered his blues playing style. Freddy King’s unique playing was a cross between traditional Texas blues & the electric style associated with Chicago’s South Side. His health took a turn for the worse in the mid-70’s after too much drinking, touring, poor diet & stress.  He passed away in December 1976.  Enjoy this rarely heard Christmas classic as we kick off the last weekend before the holiday!

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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