The Hunter (Albert King song)
1969 French single picture sleeve
|Song by Albert King|
|from the album Born Under a Bad Sign|
|Recorded||June 9, 1967|
|Studio||Stax, Memphis, Tennessee|
"The Hunter" is a blues song first recorded by Albert King in 1967 for his landmark album Born Under a Bad Sign. It was written by Stax Records' house band, Booker T. and the MGs, and Carl Wells. Along with "Born Under a Bad Sign" and "Crosscut Saw", "The Hunter" is one of King's best-known and most recorded songs. In 1969, Ike and Tina Turner had hit with the tune in the R&B and Hot 100 singles charts.
Composition and lyrics
"The Hunter" is a mid-tempo twenty-four bar blues in the key of A. Although the music reflects more modern trends in blues, the lyrics contain some of the swagger of the verses Willie Dixon wrote for Muddy Waters in the 1950s:
They call me the hunter, that's my name
A pretty woman like you, is my only game
I bought me a love gun, just the other day
And I aim to aim it your way
Ain't no use to hide, ain't no use to run
'Cause I've got you in the sights of my love gun
Recording and releases
The song was recorded on June 9, 1967, at the Stax Records studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Albert King sings and plays lead guitar. The backing is provided by Booker T. Jones on organ, Steve Cropper on rhythm guitar, Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums; plus members of the Memphis Horns, Wayne Jackson on trumpet, Andrew Love on tenor saxophone, and Joe Arnold on baritone sax.
"The Hunter" was first released on Albert King's 1967 album, Born Under a Bad Sign, which "became one of the most popular and influential blues albums of the late '60s". In 1969, the song was released as a single, but did not reach the charts. The song later appeared on various Albert King compilation albums, including King of the Blues Guitar (Atlantic Records, 1989) and The Ultimate Collection (Rhino Records, 1993).
Ike and Tina Turner rendition
Ike and Tina Turner recorded "The Hunter" in 1969 and, although it was over six minutes long, the song became a hit. It reached number 37 in the Billboard R&B chart and number 93 in the Billboard Pop Singles chart (Blue Thumb 102). The song was included on their 1969 album, also titled The Hunter, which reached number 176 in the Billboard album chart. It is one of their most blues-oriented albums, recorded with blues guitarist Albert Collins.
Writing for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine describes "The Hunter" as one of the songs that "form the very foundation of Albert King's musical identity and legacy." Early versions of "The Hunter" include those by Blue Cheer (Outsideinside 1968), Pacific Gas & Electric (Get It On 1968), Free (Tons of Sobs 1968 and Free Live 1971), and Blues Magoos (Never Goin' Back to Georgia 1969). Canned Heat recorded a demo version in 1967, but re-recorded it as "Amphetamine Annie" (an early anti-drug song) using the same music (Boogie with Canned Heat 1968). Led Zeppelin used some of the lyrics from "The Hunter" during the "How Many More Times" medley on their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin as did Paul Stanley for the 1977 Kiss song "Love Gun".
Later recordings include versions by Great White (Great White 1983), Koko Taylor (Queen of the Blues 1985), Danzig (Danzig 1988), Paul Rodgers (Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters 1993), Doyle Bramhall (Bird's Nest on the Ground 1994), and Gov't Mule (Live... With a Little Help from Our Friends 1999), and Schenker – Pattison Summit (The Endless Jam Continues 2005).
- "The Hunter". Free Hand Music. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (1996). "Albert King". In Erlewine, Michael. All Music Guide to the Blues. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books. pp. 147–148. ISBN 0-87930-424-3.
- Atlantic Records 2604, with the B-side "As the Years Go Passing By"
- Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 418. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
- Blue Thumb Records BTS-11
- Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). "Ike Turner". Encyclopedia of the Blues. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. p. 349. ISBN 1-55728-252-8.
- Akkerman, Gregg (2014). Experiencing Led Zeppelin: A Listener's Companion. Lanham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-8108-8915-6.
- De La Para, Adolfo (2013). Living the Blues. eBookIt.com. eBook. ISBN 978-1456603328.