Albert Collins, Alive and Cool

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The Iceman cometh with the goods on this riveting Fillmore West performance.

Texas blues belongs to the guitar-slingers, from T-Bone Walker on down, and Albert Collins was simultaneously squarely in that tradition and galvanizingly progressive about it. Collins used open tunings and a capo to set himself apart from the herd, and his chunky, punchy guitar work was cool as ice — dry ice — and sharp as an ice pick. (He was known as the Iceman, and his instrumental hits had titles like “Frosty” and “Freeze.”) As this raucous, riveting Fillmore West performance from 1969 confirms, he was also a thrilling improviser, starting a solo hell-bent and building from there.