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Albert Washington

Cincinnati, 1958-1998

Albert Washington was was a mainstay in Cincinnati blues and R&B for 20 years from the late 1950s until the mid 1970s. He was born in Georgia but his family moved to the greater Cincinnati area where he started singing in the gospel group the Gospelaires. He was a self taught musician, and talented enough to make his own guitar and play wind instruments. He got a house band gig at the Vets Inn in Cincy, a gig that lasted around 15 years.

He made his first secular R&B recording for Finch in 1958 (later re-released on the VLM label). These records were popular regionally and let to him getting a deal with Fraternity where he made his most notable records, usually credited as Albert Washington and the Kings, with several them becoming regional hits and getting airplay on several stations. ON several of these recordings, Lonnie Mack played guitar. However, Fraternity did not have much reputation as an R&B label and wasn't really able to promote him as well as a label like Chess. After Fraternity faded out in the early 70s, he made 45s on both Jewel labels, the legendary Louisiana one and the Cincy one using the RYE subsidiary.

In 1972 Albert finally got on a legit soul/R&B label, Westbound records and made his only LP from the era. The LP was not that successful, but worse, he was losing his sight to complications from diabetes. In the late 1970s he helped create the Preston record label where he made a few local 45s in the late 1970s with help of Steve Tracy, a Cincinnati blues historian who was a big fan.  Albert's deteriorating vision made him pull back from trying to pursue a major career break, and his recording career was pretty quiet. In the early 1990s, as has been noted in several bios on this website, people both in the US and in Europe/UK began to find and re-establish the older generation of blues and R&B artists. Albert got a deal with the NYC based Iris records and released two LPs to critical acclaim. The record label set him up to play in the NYC area for most of his remaining years. In 1998 his health problems finally took him.

Albert Washington's recorded legacy left a number of fine recordings, but he is probably best known for the 1968 45 "I'm The Man", which has endured as a club dance favorite all over the world.