Al King

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For the Canadian-born singer who sometimes used the name Al King, see Henry Burr.

Alvin K. Smith (August 8, 1923 – January 21, 1999),[1] who performed and recorded as Al King, was an American blues singer and songwriter.[2]

King was born in Monroe, Louisiana.[1] After moving to Los Angeles he recorded for the Shirley and Sahara labels in the 1950s and 1960s, and had a number 36 R&B chart hit in 1966 with "Think Twice Before You Speak".[3] Many of his records featured guitarist and bandleader Johnny Heartsman.[4] He also wrote songs under his real name, Smith, as in "On My Way", the B-side of his first single covering "Reconsider Baby" in 1964.

King died in Oakland, California in January 1999 at the age of 75.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 306. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  2. ^ Living Blues - Issues 143-148 1999 - Page 54 "AL KING Blues vocalist and songwriter Al King (Alvin K. Smith) died of blood poisoning on January 21, 1999, in Oakland, California. ... of additional 45s during the '60s that were released on Triad, Shirley, Flag (King's own production company), Sahara, ."
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 244. 
  4. ^ Biography by Eugene Chadbourne, Retrieved 3 November 2016