Thursday, November 5, 2015

What "Cold Feet" In Albert King's Blues Song REALLY Means

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases two YouTube examples of Albert King's Blues (and Rhythm & Blues) record "Cold Feet". Information about Albert King is included in this post along with that song's lyrics, selected comments from the discussion threads of those YouTube examples, and my comments about what I think is the real meanings of the term "cold feet" in that song.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

Thanks to Albert King for his musical legacy. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the publishers of these examples on YouTube.

Note: Chubb Rock's Hip-Hop song "Just The Two Of Us" is one of a number of songs that sampled Albert King's "Cold Feet". A pancocojams post on that song will be published ASAP and its link will be added to this post.

From Biography: Albert King (born Albert Nelson). April 25th, 1923 - December 21st, 1992. Birthplace: Indianola, Mississippi.
"Bluesman Albert King was one of the premier electric guitar stylists of the post-World War II period. By playing left-handed and holding his guitar upside-down (with the strings set for a right-handed player), and by concentrating on tone and intensity more than flash, King fashioned over his long career, a sound that was both distinctive and highly influential. He was a master of the single-string solo and could bend strings to produce a particularly tormented blues sound that set his style apart from his contemporaries. A number of prominent artists, from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix to Mike Bloomfield and Stevie Ray Vaughan, borrowed heavily from King's guitar style.

King was also the first major blues guitarist to cross over into modem soul;his mid- and late 1960s recordings for the Stax label, cut with the same great session musicians who played on the recordings of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave,Eddie Floyd, and others, appealed to his established black audience while broadening his appeal with rock fans. Along with B.B. King (no relation, though at times Albert suggested otherwise) and Muddy Waters, King helped nurture a white interest in blues when the music needed it most to survive....

King didn't become a major blues figure until after he signed with Stax Records in 1966. Working with producer-drummer Al Jackson, Jr., guitarist Steve Cropper, keyboards ace Booker T. Jones, and bass player Donald "Duck"Dunn-aka Booker T. and the MG's, King created a blues sound that was laced with Memphis soul strains. Although the blues were dominant on songs such as "Laundromat Blues" and the classic "Born Under A Bad Sign", the tunes had Memphis soul underpinnings that gave King his crossover appeal...

During the 1970s King toured extensively, often playing to rock and soul crowds. He left Stax in 1974 to record for independent labels like Tomato and Fantasy. King was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1983.He continued touring throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, playing festivals and concerts, often with B.B. King.

He died of a heart attack in 1992, just prior to starting a major European tour."

(Albert King)

They keep raisin' sand about playing this chord
He ain't hitting the B flat right
I'm a make a hit
If it's the last thing I do

And I done come home to you
And you done put your cold feet on me
Get warm your feet, woman

Hanging around the studio
For three days in a row now
Thinking nobody get a hit out of here
But Sam and Dave

Rufus Thomas or Carla Thomas
Or Eddie Floyd
They ain't the only ones
Who know how to play the blues
I can play the blues myself

I'm gonna give every disc jockey
The blues across the country
If he don't dig this
He got a hole in his soul

Yeah, well
Hey, ooh wee

If you hear a little fuss
It ain't nobody but us


That page included this statement: "This song is performed by Albert King and appears on the album Laundromat Blues (1984)"

Example #1: Albert King Cold Feet.wmv

francesco sadurny, Uploaded on Jan 17, 2010
Selected comments from this example's discussion thread:
MrDjDaredevil, 2012

John Tappenden, 2012
"Great funky soul blues classic! Thanks amigo."

DrSkeletorPhD, 2012
"For the days when Hip Hop headz appreciated music and didn't scorn everything that paved the way."

tomthefunky, 2012
"Booker T and The MG's are the band."

tommy2chips, 2013
"This is what I called Blues Funk I love it. Nice bass and nice drum beat. I love blues"

Joel Foy, 2015
"....referring to Stax, "Can't nobody can get a hit out of here but Sam &Dave!" LOL!

This was my first blues 45 purchase as a teenager. Man did I get lucky...."

mike 6270, 2015
"lol just the two of us brought me here"

damon blacknall, 2015
"word up word up !!!! chubb rock
Chubb Rock’s 1991 record “Just the two of us” samples this tune (not the words). The lyrics "word up word up" are found near the beginning of that Chubb Rock song.

“Word up” is a African American vernacular English originated saying that means something like “Yeah, that’s right. I agree with what you said.”

Example #2: Albert King / Cold Feet

Boogie N Blues Uploaded on Mar 17, 2010
Here's a comment from this example's discussion thread:
sauquoit13456, 2012
"On this day in 1968 {June 15th} Albert King performed this song on the late Dick Clark's American Bandstand...
Five months earlier on February 3rd it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; eventually it peaked at #67 and spent 4 weeks in the Top 100...
It reached #20 on Billboard's R&B chart...
Albert King passed away on December 21st, 1992 at the age of 69...
R.I.P. Mr. King and Mr. Clark...

Albert King's "Cold Feet" is expresses King's criticism of Stax record producer/s or executives that haven't supported his creative products and even dare to criticize how he plays chords. That song also disses Stax for thinking and acting like that the only artists at that record company who can produce hits are Sam and Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, and Eddie Floyd. King says that he's determined to make a hit record that will be played by every Blues disc jockey in the country, and that if he (the Stax producer) doesn't dig it (appreciate it) then he's got a hole in his soul (lacks any capacity to appreciate anything soulful). The ending lines to that song "If you hear a little fuss
It ain't nobody but us" reinforce King's stance about standing his ground at that record company until he gets the respect that is due him. In a number of ways Albert King's "Cold Feet" combines dissing (insulting- or better yet "tellin it like it is") with bragging ("big upping one's self", demonstrating a high degree of self-confidence).

I believe that the title "Cold Feet" are a psychological description of how the Stax producer/Stax executives are treating Albert King and the music that he is producing or that he wants to produce at that record company.
"Definitions (psychological)
• Apprehension or doubt strong enough to prevent a planned course of action.[1]
• loss or lack of courage or confidence; an onset of uncertainty or fear.[2]
• To “have cold feet” is to be too fearful to undertake or complete an action.[3]
• A wave of timidity or fearfulness.[4]
• Loss or lack of courage or confidence.[5]
•Timidity that prevents the continuation of a course of action.[6]
That said, I also believe that the verse about "cold feet" in the song refers to his woman not having had any hot loving from him since he's been working in the music studio for three days. Albert King is saying that that's about to change and he's going to warm his woman's feet and the rest of her body up (by engaging in some hot love making).

Here's how that verse about his woman reads:
"And I done come home to you
And you done put your cold feet on me
Get warm your feet, woman"

Here's how I think it would read in (mostly) Standard American English:
And after I come home to you
And you put your cold feet on me
I'm gonna warm your feet, woman" [by making love to you].
Alternatively, the woman's feet might have feet that are usually physically cold to the touch. In that verse he's telling her to warm them up a bit (for instance, by sitting near the
fireplace) in preparation for him to come home to her and then he will warm her feet (and the rest of her body) up some more.

Those lyric's use of the term "cold feet" has nothing whatsoever
to do with the psychological definitions of the term "cold feet" that are given above.

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