Earl King

Highly respected around his Crescent City home base as both a performer and a songwriter, guitarist Earl King was a prime New Orleans R&B force for more than four decades. Born Earl Johnson, the youngster considered the platters of Texas guitarists T-Bone Walker and Gatemouth Brown almost as fascinating as the live performances of local luminaries Smiley Lewis and Tuts Washington. King met his major influence and mentor, Guitar Slim, at the Club Tijuana, one of King's favorite haunts (along with the Dew Drop, of course), and the two became fast friends. Still billed as Earl Johnson, the guitarist debuted on wax in 1953 on Savoy with "Have You Gone Crazy" (with pal Huey "Piano" Smith making the first of many memorable supporting appearances on his platters).