A modern blues classic gets the hi-tech treatment: Albert King's 1972 I'll Play The Blues For You is now available in the SACD format (which is compatible with regular CD players, if it's gonna take you a bit longer to "upgrade"). King (1924-1992), though not known the nicest fellow to have walked the earth, made his impact on the oft-overlapping worlds of Blues and Rock, influencing Otis Rush, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn, to name only three. He had a terse, stinging tone (with plenty of sustain) that could resemble an anguished human cry, and what his vocals lacked in subtlety they made up for in rough-and-tumble Memphis soulfulness. This album was/is something of a "crossover" milestone, as it mixed the raw, down-home Southern blues style of Albert King with the more polished, uptown, funky Memphis soul/R&B sub-genre known to pop-music history as the Stax sound. (For younger viewers, the most famous exponents of Stax: Rufus Thomas, Eddie Floyd, the Staples Singers' 70s recordings.) So, hardcore blues purists might be dismayed with the occasional wah-wah guitar, chugging horn section and relatively suave, polished nature of the performances, but those with one ear in the Southern Rhythm & Blues 1970s epoch will find this a bracing combination indeed. It's the slightly uneasy juxtaposition of the Raw & the Smooth that gives this set its verve -- it feels dated and timeless, quaint and compelling simultaneously.