CD/DVD Review: Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan – In Session (Stax Records)
Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan – In Session (Stax Records) is sort of a re-release of the 1983 audio disc. However, the DVD includes three performances previously unavailable – ”Born Under a Bad Sign”, the landmark title track from Albert King’s biggest Stax release, written by William Bell and Booker T. Jones; Stevie Ray’s “Texas Flood”, the Davis penned title track of Vaughan’s immortal debut album; and “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town”, made famous by Louis Jordan and later, Ray Charles.
The entire event was taken from the Canadian series In Session. The magic occurred on December 6, 1983 and man-oh- man is it ever an unbelievably experience. Not only do we get to see two masters bend strings and literally sweat the blues, we get to see and hear them banter back and forth. There was a mutual respect for sure, but on Stevie’s part, it was pure unadulterated idolization. This is the man he had placed upon the highest possible pedestal, and here he is, performing with him upon that very same pedestal.
I’m sure, by the time they finished the session, there was an absolute mutual adoration. At one point Mr. King tells Stevie after they finish playing “Stormy Monday”, they reminisce about the first time they met at the Austin Coliseum in Austin, Texas, Mr. King says after hearing Stevie for the first time, “you got the makings of a good fiddler”. Hysterical banter for sure. It was obvious the two masters of blues guitar were enjoying each other’s company immensely.
Immediately afterwards, they blast into “Pride and Joy” which is incredibly mesmerizing, for lack of a better word to describe it. Here we have Stevie’s throaty vocals and electric guitar, Albert King on electric guitar, with Tony Llorens accompanying on the piano and organ, Bus Thornton playing bass, and Michael Llorens binding it all together with his skillfully rhythmic drums.
Other tunes on the audio CD are “Ask Me No Questions”, “Blues at Sunrise”, “Overall Junction”, “Matchbox Blues”, and “Don’t Lie to Me”. There is conversation between the two before each song throughout the CD, which adds to the recording, making it an extremely intimate experience.
The two never performed together again. Sadly, in 1990 Stevie Ray, after leaving a concert via helicopter, crashed into a foggy hillside. Everyone, including Stevie was killed. Albert King died two years later of a heart attack. The fact that this was a one-time deal makes this recording even more important. It is an amazing piece of musical history.
The DVD that accompanies the audio CD is incredible. Now, not only do you hear it all, we get to see it as well. There is just something about seeing these two masters at their craft. Moreover, seeing these two is truly candy for not only the ears but for the eyes. My eyes are constantly in disbelief at what they are seeing, but the ears prove that it is all very real indeed.
The never before seen video footage here does much more than compliment the package. It completes and enhances it all. The tunes on the DVD, besides the fore mentioned, ”Born Under a Bad Sign”, “Texas Flood”, and “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town”, are “Stormy Monday”, “Don’t Lie to Me”, and “Pride and Joy”.
This package is not to be missed and will be released on Stax Records this coming November 9th.