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This Week in Texas Music History: Albert Collins

by Stephen Becker 26 Nov 2010 9:33 AM

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate a dynamic performer who really knew how to “break the ice.”


Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman celebrates a dynamic performer who really knew how to “break the ice.”

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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Blues guitarist Albert Collins, born on Oct. 3, 1932, in Leona, Texas, died on Nov. 24, 1993. A cousin of Texas bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins, Collins used finger picks and a capo and played much higher up the neck than most guitarists. This allowed him to produce sharp, staccato notes that sounded like breaking ice, thereby earning him the nickname, “The Iceman.” In 1968, the rock band Canned Heat helped introduce Albert Collins to white audiences. Soon, such young blues and rock and roll artists as Johnny Winter, Janis Joplin and David Bowie began recording with Collins. In 1987, he won a Grammy for his album Showdown, which included blues legends Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland.