Who was/is Albert Collins ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Albert Collins

They called Albert Collins ‘The Master of the Telecaster,’ and he was. Thanks to his early 45s, many of which bore frigid titles, it was decreed that his reverb-drenched guitar sound was ‘icy.’ In reality, a hotter electric blues guitarist never existed. When he strode through an audience, his axe slung low on his shoulder and trailing at least 100 feet of cord, he glowed with a million watts of incandescence. And Frosty was the tour de force he always played in the midst of those crowds.

Born October 1, 1932 in a log cabin in Leona, Texas, Collins mostly grew up in Houston’s Third Ward. Piano was his first instrument, but when his music teacher’s path was blocked by rain, young Albert decided to switch to guitar. "My cousin’s the one that taught me how to play, named Willow Young," said the late Collins. "And I had a very good friend of mine, he’s a music teacher name of Henry Hayes, out of Houston, Texas. They taught me quite a bit, you know. But I was listening to John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins at the particular time when I first learned how to start playing guitar."

 Collins’ unorthodox tuning was radically different. "It’s a D-minor tuning," said Collins. "From where I come from out of the south, Houston, Texas, they all would call this Spanish tuning." That meant that chords were all but impossible; Albert was by both design and necessity a lead guitarist.He adopted T-Bone and Gatemouth as his idols. "In 1953, I met Gatemouth Brown. I saw him with a new guitar," said Collins. "When the Fenders first came out, he bought the Esquire Fender. So I bought me one." That wasn’t Gate’s only input. "I started out playing with just my fingers," he said. "I tried to use a pick, but I don’t know, it seemed like it was a handicap to me."  And like his hero, Collins used a capo. "After I got around Gatemouth, I got hooked on that clamp," he said. "It gave me a good sound." 

Collins formed his first band, the Rhythm Rockers, in 1950. He got the idea for those long mid-song walks from sax wildman Big Jay McNeely. "He used to have a creeper that you work on cars on, a creeper that you lay down on," said Albert. "He’d go all out in the streets, blowin’ his horn." Collins made his first instrumental 45, The Freeze, in 1958 for Hayes’ Kangaroo label, encoring on the Great Scott logo with Defrost. Then he hooked up with Beaumont producer Bill Hall and his partner, ex-Sun A&R man Jack Clement, who ran Hall and Hallway Records. "When I got with Hall and Clement, they told me, ‘Well, man, we’ll just keep you in the icebox. So everything we put out on you will be pertaining to cold!’" Albert said.

The swinging, intricately conceived Frosty came out in 1964 on Hall. "I was just doing mostly instrumentals at that particular time," Collins said. "I wasn’t singing too much then." He was backed by his regular combo: trumpeter Frank Mitchell, Hayes on alto sax, Big Tiny on tenor, organist Walter McNeil, bassist Bill Johnson, and drummer Herbert Henderson. More classic cold-themed instrumentals—Backstroke, the two-part Sno-Cone, Don’t Lose Your Cool—followed. Albert moved over to Imperial for three 1968-70 albums that didn’t quite have the same pizzazz and looked destined to primarily remain a West Coast phenomenon until his 1978 Alligator album ‘Ice Pickin’’ catapulted him into the major leagues of bluesdom and belatedly showed him to be a fine, understated singer as well 

From then until his November 24, 1993 death of lung cancer, Albert Collins was the most exciting electric blues guitarist in the world, cold as ice and hot as fire.


Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois


Electric Blues 1939-2005. - The Definitive Collection!


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Albert Collins: Live At Montreux 1992
Art-Nr.: CDEAG461

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(2011 EAGLE ROCK) 58:25/07

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Albert Collins: Live At Rockpalast - Dortmund 1980 (2-CD, 1-DVD)
Art-Nr.: CDMIG90632

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(2016/Made In Germany) CDs - 19 tracks, DVD - 10 tracks. DVD:PCM Stereo, :4:3, NTSC, rcode:0;running time: 95 Min.  - Quality official release of unreleased 1980 concert recorded for German TV, on both CD & DVD!

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Albert Collins: Joe's Place, Cambridge, MA January 17th 1973
Art-Nr.: CDECHO2004

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(2014/Echo) 10 tracks. Albert Collins - gtr/voc, B.C. Hill - bass, Mark David - drums, Dave Maxwell - pno.

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Albert Collins: Joe's Place, Cambridge, MA, 1973 (LP, 180g Vinyl)
Art-Nr.: LPLOV2010

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(2016/Live On Vinyl) 11 tracks, recorded 'live' January 17th at 'Joe's Place' in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Pressed on 180g. vinyl.

$35.04 *

Albert Collins: At Onkel Pö's Carnegie Hall Hamburg 1980 (3-LP)
Art-Nr.: LP78040

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(2017/Delta) 24 tracks. His Onkel Pö concert from 1980, recorded by the NDR. Excellent!

$40.89 *

Albert Collins: Love Can Be Found Anywhere - Trash Talkin'
Art-Nr.: CDBGOCD364

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After recording a couple of locally successful releases on the 'Hall' label, he left Texas and through the introduction of Bob Hite from Canned Heat got signed to 'Imperial'. His famous ice cold guitar style is well developed.

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Albert Collins: At Onkel Pö's Carnegie Hall Hamburg 1980 (2-CD)
Art-Nr.: CD77040

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(2017/Delta) 24 tracks. His Onkel Pö concert from 1980, recorded by the NDR. Excellent!

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Albert Collins: Ice Pickin' (LP, 180g Vinyl)
Art-Nr.: LPAL4713

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(2016/Alligator) 8 tracks. Re-release of his 1978 Alligator LP. All tracks have been remastered for this edition. The re-birth of Texas-style guitar blues. Since the late 1950s, Albert Collins had been performing and recording his special brand of Texas guitar...

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Albert Collins: Truckin' With Albert Collins
Art-Nr.: CDMCAD10423

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One of the most important guitar albums, ever recorded - due to Robben Ford. Collins' early, and probably most creative, instrumental sides recorded for the small Hall record company. Amazing to learn that his style was fully developed at an early stage in his...

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Albert Collins: Ice Pickin'
Art-Nr.: CDAL4713

Currently not available

The re-birth of Texas-style guitar blues. Since the late 1950s, Albert Collins had been performing and recording his special brand of Texas guitar blues. No one could copy his style. Collins played with energy, and he a razor-sharp, biting and aggressive tone that...

$18.85 *

Albert Collins: Live At Montreux 1992
Art-Nr.: CD201242

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Excellent sounding recordings presenting the 'Master Of The Telecasetr' in great shape. Hard to believe that only sixteen months later he would be dead. Superb band. Highly recommended to all his fans, and lovers of bewitching guitar playing. Albert, you still are...

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Albert Collins: Truckin' With
Art-Nr.: LPFRI218002

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2013 'Friday Music' 12 tracks, - 1962/63 'TCFG Hall'

$36.80 *

Albert Collins: Funky Blues Live 1973
Art-Nr.: CDRB3275

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(2014/Rockbeat) 10 tracks.

$14.67 *

Albert Collins: Alive And Cool
Art-Nr.: CDSJP423

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1958-69 - 59:51/15. Latest release in a row of re-issues containing the live masters, originally released on a British Red Lightnin' LP. Rather mediocre sound quality. This CD contains the 1969 live recordings from the Fillmore West in San Francisco, plus three 45s,...

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Albert Collins: Live From Austin, TX (CD-DVD)
Art-Nr.: CDNW6224

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The 'master of the Telecaster' with a band featuring musicians from Chicago and Austin. Some cuts are rather overlong. Good recording quality. DVD: Region: USA, 4:3 picture format, 5.1 Doly Surround, Stereo, Farbe/color. Spieldauer/playing time ca. 68 mns. - ALBERT...

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Albert Collins: Live At Montreux 1992
Art-Nr.: DVD39163

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Filmed one year before his untimely death, Albert's in great shape. So is his band. As a bonus, you'll get a few tracks from his 1979 Montreux performance. Excellent. ALBERT COLLINS - gtr/voc, feat. (1992) PETER THOENNES - gtr, BOBBY ALEXIS - kbds, JOHNNY B. GAYDEN...

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