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Albert King – In Session with Stevie Ray Vaughan

Review: 059
Date: 21 Jan 02

 


Rating: 5 Stars

Musicians:
Albert King - electric guitar, vocals
Stevie Ray Vaughan - electric guitar, vocals
Tony Llorens - piano, organ
Gus Thornton - bass
Michael Llorens - drums

Tracks Listing:
1. Call It Stormy Monday
2. “Old Times”
3. Pride And Joy
4. Ask Me No Questions
5. “Pep Talk”
6. Blues At Sunrise
7. “Turn It Over”
8. Overall Junction
9. Match Box Blues
10. “Who Is Stevie?”
11. Don’t Lie To Me

 


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 Austin Texas.

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 songs.

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 song.

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 the Blues.

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

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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