Albert Collins | Everything you need to know about Blues Music
Albert Collins Biography: The Master of the Telecaster
Albert Gene Drewery, better known as Albert Collins and the Ice Man, was an American electric blues guitarist and singer born in Leona, Texas, on October 1, 1932. He gained popularity for his powerful playing, distinct sound, and his use of altered tunings and a capo. His long association with the Fender Telecaster led to his title as “The Master of the Telecaster.” He passed away on November 24, 1993, at the age of 61 due to lung cancer.
Collins was a significant influence on a generation of Texas guitar players, including Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Vaughan. Alongside Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Johnny Copeland, Collins helped shape the legacy of T-Bone Walker into a modern blues template that had a profound influence on many later players.
In 1969, Collins performed at a rock festival that turned the head of Robert Cray. In a Guitar World magazine interview, Robert Cray said, “it was seeing Albert Collins at a rock festival in 1969 that really turned my head around.” Collins later played at Cray’s high-school graduation party in Tacoma, Washington, in 1971, and the ice-pick sound sank in deep: “That was it,” Cray recalled. “That changed my whole life around. From that moment, I started seriously studying the blues.”
Collins released several albums throughout his career, including “The Cool Sound of Albert Collins” (1965), “Love Can Be Found Anywhere (Even in a Guitar)” (1974), and “Frostbite” (1980), among others. His album “Ice Pickin'” (1978) earned him his first Grammy Award nomination. Collins was later inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1986.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Collins at number 56 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists, describing his playing as “cold, spare, and piercing, like an icicle hanging from a porch roof.” Collins’ signature playing style and his use of the Fender Telecaster have left a lasting impact on blues music, and his influence can still be heard in the playing of countless guitarists today.
In summary, Albert Collins was a master of the electric blues guitar, renowned for his distinctive sound and use of the Fender Telecaster. His influence on Texas guitar players, including Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Vaughan, has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest blues guitarists of all time. Collins’ impact on the blues genre continues to be felt to this day, and his music remains an inspiration for countless musicians around the world.