Earl King is one of New Orleans’s great postwar music figures, spanning generations and genres with his canon of blues and R & B. King’s “Those Lonely, Lonely Nights” in 1955 helped define the Louisiana ballad style, and his “Trick Bag” was an R & B landmark in 1962. These accomplishments barely scratch the surface, however: King’s guitar style keening, high-octane leads punctuated by choppy fills and chording–was a major progenitor of 60s blues rock. Many of his local and regional hits are now considered classics, and his songwriting portfolio includes such monumental titles as Lee Dorsey’s “Do-Re-Mi” and Professor Longhair’s “Big Chief,” on which King sang and contributed the famous whistling sequences. He’s also among New Orleans’s most prolific and respected producers. King has a reputation for being somewhat erratic in performance, but his good-time energies rarely fail him, and the eccentric vision that led to such quirky outbursts of inspiration as “Hum Diddy Doo” (written for Fats Domino) and “Happy Little Nobody’s Waggy Tail Dog” (on King’s current Black Top LP) guarantees an evening of unforgettable entertainment. Tonight, Biddy Mulligan’s, 7644 N. Sheridan; 761-6532. Saturday, Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 42 7-0333 or 427-1190.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rick Olivier.