Albert King’s partnership with Stax Records in Memphis resulted in music’s most perfect merger of blues and soul. Backed by Stax house band Booker T. & the MG’s, King’s electrifying riffs are sharper than touches from a Taser; “Oh Pretty Woman,” “(I Love) Lucy” and the immortal “Born Under A Bad Sign” are downright indestructible. In addition to being rock solid, King and the MG’s concocted some ineffably deep grooves that formed the basis for dozens of rap songs over the years. “Cold Feet” and “I’ll Play the Blues For You” have inspired countless hip-hop producers, including the masters Diamond D, Erick Sermon, and the RZA. The Very Best of Albert King traces the entirety of King’s time with Stax, from 1967 to 1974, and throws in a few stray cuts from his late-Seventies work for Tomato. In the years in which R&B was experiencing rapid development, King showed his peers that there need not be a divide between blues and soul. He was comfortable playing straight blues (“Blues Power”), straight soul (“Water”) and effortless combinations of the two (“Crosscut Saw”). His style was as innovative as it was back-to-basics, and these songs had a profound influence on countless artists, especially a young Jimi Hendrix.