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Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Session

Stax Records

CD: 11 tracks

DVD: 12 Tracks

Many of you are familiar with the Stax CD made from the December 6, 1983 live session on Canadian television with the legendary Albert King both mentoring and admiring the young Stevie Ray Vaughn. Now released is the actual DVD of the session, packaged with the original CD. The DVD gives us three cuts not previously released: King’s huge hit “Born Under A Bad Sign”, Vaughn’s famed “Texas Flood” and the finale “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” which had been made famous by Louis Jordan and then Ray Charles. The CD gives us glimpses of how great an event this was and the relationship of these two men that day, but the DVD affirms and cements the grandeur of it all.

The CD and DVD offer a few different cuts here and there, but what certainly can be seen both visually and by listening is the admiration the legend and the protégé had for each other. The set is rather barren, King to the right, Stevie on his left, with a bass player to the left of the duo and a keyboard player to the right and drummer in a sound room on the far left. There was no audience and the sound crew’s presence was hidden and quite small; this was two greats playing for each other and boy did they ever!

King bent strings like no other man that I’ve seen. Powerful, huge, sausage-like fingers almost tear the strings across the neck of the guitar to produce sweet and eloquent notes. Vaughn gives us his take on the situation as the men trade both solos and verbal repartees back and forth for the entire session. As King plays Stevie sits like a student drinking from the fountain of greatness and when Vaughn plays King smiles and shakes his head in joyful admiration. They had played before in Austin but this day they knew what to expect and what they both could do. The combination of these two greats creates something even bigger and better than their already spectacular individual parts. At one point we can almost feel the passing of the proverbial torch from King to Vaughn as heir apparent of the guitar god. It is truly a royal event.

If you own the CD you must get this new package because the DVD is even better than you could ever expect. Buy this and then give the old CD away to someone else. If you don’t own the CD, then go get this ASAP because you have no idea what you’ve missed all these years! Albert King acting as the storied and learned mentor and yet learning from the young, humble and talented Stevie Ray is a thing to see, as is Vaughn the student, who studies the master’s every move and absorbs knowledge from the amazing and legendary Albert King. Towards the end of the finale, King breaks out a beautiful, huge briar pipe to heighten his enjoyment while Vaughn solos; at the end of the finale King puts down his guitar and stands next to the keyboard with his elbow on the equipment and chin on his hand watching Vaughn finish his solo and the song. The two men show so much respect and admiration for each other and play their asses off- if you just have the faintest of pulses of life left and nothing more, you still will love watching and listening to this! It is an amazing and historical video and album that every blues fan should own!

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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