Indianola in Sunflower County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Albert King (1923-1992), who was billed as "King of the Blues Guitar," was famed for his powerful string-bending style as well as for his soulful, smoky vocals. King often said he was born in Indianola and was a half-brother of B. B. King, although the scant surviving official documentation suggests otherwise on both counts. King carved his own indelible niche in the blues hierarchy by creating a deep, dramatic sound that was widely imitated by both blues and rock guitarists.
Albert King’s readily identifiable style made him one of the most important artists in the history of the blues, but his own identity was a longtime source of confusion. In interviews he said he was born in Indianola on April 25, 1923 (or 1924), and whenever he appeared here at Club Ebony, the event was celebrated as a homecoming. He often claimed to be a half-brother of Indianola icon B. B. King, citing the fact that B. B.'s father was named Albert King. But when he applied for a Social Security card in 1942, he gave his birthplace as “Aboden” (most likely Aberdeen), Mississippi, and signed his name as Albert Nelson, listing his father
According to King, he was five when his father left the family and eight when he moved with his mother, Mary Blevins, and two sisters to the Forrest City, Arkansas, area. King said his family had also lived in Arcola, Mississippi, at one time. He made his first guitar out of a cigar box, a piece of a bush, and a strand of broom wire, and later bought a real guitar for $1.25. As a southpaw learning guitar on his own, he turned his guitar upside down. King picked cotton, drove a bulldozer, did construction, and worked other jobs until he was finally able to support himself as a musician.
King's first band was the In the Groove Boys, based in Osceola, Arkansas. In the early ’50s he also worked with a gospel group, the Harmony Kings, in South Bend, Indiana, and–as a drummer–with bluesman Jimmy
Erected 2011 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 147.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail 🎶 series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1903.
Location. 33° 27.074′ N, 90° 39.082′ W. Marker is in Indianola, Mississippi, in Sunflower County. Marker is at the intersection of Front Avenue and Second Street, on the left when traveling south on Front Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 118 Front Avenue, Indianola MS 38751, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fannie Lou Hamer (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Riley B. King (about 400 feet away); Craig Claiborne (approx. 0.2 miles away); Church Street (approx. 0.2 miles away); Irene Magruder (approx. 0.3 miles away); Club Ebony (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wayne and Minnie Cox Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); Giles Penny Savers Store (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Indianola.
Also see . . . Mississippi Blues Trail. (Submitted on September 20, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 20, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 339 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 20, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.