Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King is a 1961 instrumental blues album by blues guitarist and singer Freddie King (alternatively spelled Freddy). I was originally going to review this album for a new website that I’m developing but I thought what better place for a review on such an album than Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat!
This album with a huge and difficult to repeatedly type name was critically well received but as well as this, many consider some of the material within this album to be important and influential which is why I’m looking at it today. Well that, and I’m really in the mood for some blues music. Let’s dive straight in.
Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King #1 Hide Away
Hide Away is the opening track on the album and what a neat way to start things off. The rhythm is steady, the backing is solid, and the lead is, well, it’s what every guitar player aspires to when they first attempt lead blues improv. If you’re a guitarist and you can do this, you’re well on the way.
There’s nothing in here that’s crazy or flashy by today’s standards but that’s not what it’s about. The lead is locked in with the rhythm perfectly from start to end and it’s also an example of how to not play notes every single millisecond.
The main melody lick wasn’t overdone, and I never got bored. Granted, the track is short but there’s still plenty of variation crammed in there. I loved the double stop part, but I equally loved the focus on the lower notes.
If you’re a guitarist out there and you’re about to play some clean up-tempo blues, remember what was done in this track. Not a wrong note in the whole thing.
Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King #2 Butterscotch
Butterscotch is upbeat just like Hide Away but there’s a little more impact in the backing section thanks to a strong bouncy feel and for me, the tone of the lead guitar has more to it also thanks to a lovely punchy clean reverb sound.
This is a track that gives me itchy fingers. It puts me in the mood to groove. The rhythm is once again steady throughout, but the leads are a little more out there and experimental and free sounding. That said, the leads are still in the box but at times, the lead guitar pokes its head out to take a look around. There’s great control and restraint shown here. A lesson for any guitar player.
I got to the end of this one and realised that I’m now two tracks in and not one note has come close to not being perfectly performed, be it placement or execution, everything has been flawless.
An album summary so far. Safe and comfortable with just the right level of wow.
Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King #3 Sen-Sa-Shun
Sen-Sa-Shun has a different feel to it than the two tracks that opened the album. The triplet feel has gone but the general theme of the lead guitar remains. There’s a clear focus on melody and making the guitar tell a story while at the same time, we’re treated to a journey of sounds.
About halfway through, there’s a short phase where the focus is turned to the lower strings which leads into some trill work. I found this part particularly enjoyable and interesting. That wouldn’t be the last time in the track where the focus is around the lower end of the fretboard. I found that this worked really well indeed. It did a great job of providing some variation in sound which is important in instrumental music.
If I had to make one criticism of the album so far, it would be the lack of experimenting on the rhythm side of things. This isn’t hurting my enjoyment but playing around with the backing can really enhance what’s going on in the forefront. Still, another fun track which continues the theme set by the ones that went before.
Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King #4 Side Tracked
This is a track that I listened to more than once. The reason of this is that at first, I really wasn’t sure about it. Something felt a little off with it right from the start but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I would say that it was the track that I had enjoyed the least up to this point but I wasn’t sure why.
When I listened again later however, I enjoyed it much more. There was plenty of neat moments in the forefront and there was a nice little bounce to it. I also picked up on the strength of the outro.
Maybe I just needed a break. Side Tracked is a good track with a couple of stand out elements.
Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King #5 The Stumble
The Stumble is a great track. The lead guitar is very much locked into the rhythm and for the first time on the album, there’s some experimentation with the rhythm section and it works wonders.
As for the lead, everything is absolutely spot on from the first second to the last. There’s some very stealable licks in there and the double stops? Brilliant.
The Stumble is another track that shows great control and restraint. It’s the easiest thing in the world for a guitarist to blow their load all over a blues track like this resulting in a total mess. It takes a real master to control their guitar playing, hitting the notes and the licks at the ideal time constantly. It’s the latter that happened in this track.
Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King #6 Wash Out
Wash Out was a bit of a wash out for me. I think the pacing of the track was about right. Some may find it a little slow moving in terms of arrangement, but I thought it was fine. So far so good.
After the first twenty-four bars, things began to build, and we got our first guitar solo. Was this a perfect guitar solo? No, there were imperfections there which did ruin the immersion for me a little.
This would have been fine but judging by the arrangement, this was the climax of the track because after that point, we returned to the theme that we had at the start which was a little sparse. That was fine at the beginning but to be honest, I was hoping for a little more. This one ended up feeling a little anti-climactic.
Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King #7 San-Ho-Zay
Sn-Ho-Zay is a track that’s very melody driven. It’s less built around blues licks and more about the story which is told impeccably on the lead guitar.
A contender for track of the album so far clearly. The rhythm is more developed and the lead builds as the track goes which results in some cool licks and impressive guitar playing.
The only fault in the entire track for me was the fade out ending. I’m not a fan of fade outs in general. I feel that they all too often leave an unresolved taste in my mouth but that aside, I really enjoyed this one. Great arrangement (apart from the fade out).
#8 Just Pickin’
Just Pickin’ is another track where I very much enjoyed the relationship between the lead guitar and the rhythm section. The two worked extremely well together.
I wouldn’t say there was anything noteworthy in terms of the leads but there definitely are a couple of cool little licks found within.
I reckon this is a track that could have benefited from a straight up guitar solo with the bends and the double stops and all that lovely stuff. It was perhaps missing that extra level. Perhaps too much restraint on this one? Still some cool sounds in there though.
#9 Heads Up
Heads up is a track that plays with the percussion a bit which was a nice thing to experience and the guitar, while mostly focused on a steady melody, did have its moments and as for the outro, probably my favourite on the album so far.
Perhaps this is another one that may have benefited from a twelve-bar section of ramped up lead guitar playing but the lack of such a section doesn’t hurt it, I guess. Still, it left me wondering what could have been.
#10 in the Open
In the Open is the track that so far, is the most “out there” in terms of what’s served up on guitar. You can describe this track with many words but boring isn’t one of them. There’s certainly a lot of interesting stuff packed in there and there’s a lot of cool licks. There was one note which had the sweetest vibrato I’ve ever heard. See if you can catch that when you listen to the track. A real contender for note of the album thus far. There’s also a ballsy use of repetition which is admirable. Again, see if you can spot it.
There’s another example of ballsy playing too but you don’t have to search hard for it. It’s that chord. Some may hate it. I personally wasn’t sure what I thought of it at first but after a couple of listens, yeah it worked okay for me. It defiantly gives something different and again, nobody can say it’s boring.
Hated the fade out though. Not a unique thing to this album. I use the phrase “I hated the fade out” a lot.
#11 Out Front
A welcome return to familiar sounds is next with Out Front. I enjoyed the switching between low and high notes and there were a couple of licks in there which simply made me smile. Very smooth and seamless execution of licks that are actually quite fiddly.
The break in the middle was welcome and the stop start nature with the rhythm worked well, just like it has for a few of the tracks at this point.
Overall, I’d say this was a perfectly fun track that I perhaps expected a little more from toward the backend. That break in the middle didn’t really end. I was writing as I was listening, fully expecting a return to the lead stuff I was hearing before, but that didn’t come.
The outro itself was neat though, about a billion times better than a fade out.
We’ve arrived at the final track of the album now with Swooshy. Going to be honest at this point and say this is one that didn’t do it for me at all. This track had its moments and I think I understand what the aim was but to me, at times, it just felt a little off. Considering the material that I’ve listened to up until this point, this one left me feeling a little underwhelmed.
Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King may have ended in an underwhelming fashion for me, but this is still an album that I think every guitar player should listen to at least once. As I mentioned earlier, this is an album that’s been described as influential and I can certainly understand that after listening from start to finish.
There’s a couple of shaky moments but if you push those to the side, this an album that guitar players can learn a lot form just by listening. That last word is the key. Listening. Guitarists don’t do that enough these days.
The educational side of things isn’t the only reason why I’d recommend Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King. There’s a good few tracks on there that you can lose yourself in. If you’re in the mood for some pure blues guitar, this is the album for you.
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Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.