If you like the Blues then
go out and buy this album.
Albert King never got the mass recognition
he deserved; he always seemed to be in
the shadow of B.B. King. But Blues guitarists,
especially those who discovered electric
blues in the sixties, idolized him, to
them he was the master. Eric Clapton freely
admits to being heavily influenced by
Albert King, recording Kings “Born Under
A Bad Sign” with Cream, and still playing
it live today.
The Innovative television program ‘In
Session’ was recorded in Canada and allowed
a pairing of two musicians who, although
similar in style, never had the chance
to actually play together.
Albert King wasn’t sure who it was he’d
been booked to jam with, although his
manager had persuaded him to turn up as
he assured him that he did in fact know
this hotshot guitar slinger. On arrival
Albert recognized the 29-year-old Texan
immediately, not as the young guitar star
Stevie Ray Vaughan (Stevie had just played
on David Bowies “Lets Dance” album), But
as “Little Stevie” the skinny kid who’d
been coming around - and eventually sitting
in – every time Albert passed through
Stevie idolised Albert. Even before he
was in his teens, Stevie had been captivated
by the Mississippi born guitar mashes
uniqueness, the torrid tone, incisive
phrasing, even the rocket like shape of
Albert’s instrument. The boy had other
musical heros, most notably older brother
Jimmie Vaughan, as well as Lonnie Mack
and Jimi Hendrix. But it was Albert’s
influence that would remain the most pervasive
through out Stevie’s career.
So this ‘In Session’ jam was a true meeting
of two guitar greats. It is the only known
recording of Albert King and Stevie Ray
Vaughan performing together.
It’s long overdue commercial release stands
as a fitting tribute to the genius of
two of the greatest musicians ever to
have played the electric guitar.
Of the seven songs they belt out six are
staple Albert King live shows regulars
starting out with a savage version of
“Call It Stormy Monday” and reaching spectacular
heights when both guitarists go into orbit
during the fifteen minute blues workout
of “Blues At Sunrise”. It fair makes the
hair on the back of your neck stand up.
The 60-year old Albert ruled over the
proceedings like a benevolent father retaining
control while allowing his quest loads
of solo space in which displays his awesome
power over the electric guitar.
The interplay between the too blues masters
is uncannily empathetic, and Albert’s
fans will find special pleasure in hearing
him play rhythm parts at such length while
allowing Stevie to go supersonic all over
The only non Albert King song is when
Albert teases Stevie Ray Vaughan into
playing “Pride And Joy” where the master
lays down a barnstorming solo on his protégés
Sensibly the Fantasy record label who
have released this great work have left
it whole and included the banter between
songs where Albert often lays pearls of
Wisdom to Stevie. I won’t ruin it by spilling
the beans, get hold of this album and
find out yourself.
Albert was in a sense passing the torch
to Stevie as he was only to ever record
one more album, “I’m In a Phone Booth
Baby”. Although he stayed out on the road
until his death from a massive heart attack
in Memphis on December 21, 1992 Albert
was 69 and had enjoyed a full life in
Stevie wasn’t as fortunate. At the height
of his career, on August 27, 1990, he
was killed in a helicopter crash at Alpine
Valley Wisconsin. He was only 35.
The album is a fine tribute to both men.
Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew