Albert King Stevie Ray Vaughan DVD
" Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan: In Session DVD "
Stax Records

Blueswax 8

A Hero and His Hero

I'm not sure why this DVD took so long to be unearthed, but it also took some time for the CD version to be released in 1999. This In Session historic meeting took place late in 1983. By this time Albert King was completely established. On the other hand, Stevie Ray Vaughan had just catapulted onto the scene with his debut recording, Texas Flood.
No matter, thanks to the good minds at Stax/Concord, we get to see and feel how "most" of the In Session CD looked and how much admiration these two titans had for each other. My previous assumptions of their mutual respect are now fully cemented on this well recorded video and audio CD. So what we have here is the new kid on the blues block hooked up with one of his most esteemed heroes. Both Vaughan and King are in very good form, though I preferred Vaughan's accompaniment of Albert King's playing than vice-versa. It should also be noted how strong King's voice is throughout.
The DVD does not include all of the tracks that were on the original In Session CD, but the DVD does contain three previously unreleased gems. King's signature hit "Born Under a Bad Sign," Vaughan's "Texas Flood," and Larry Davis' "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town," which has been recorded by a lot of well known musicians, including Ray Charles, The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Louis Jordan, Jimmy Rushing, B.B. King, Jimmy Smith, Lou Rawls, Jimmy Witherspoon, Ruth Brown, Nat King Cole, and countless others. The only unfortunate part of this two-disc set is that these three previously unreleased tunes do not make their way onto the companion CD included here. Wouldn't that have been a nice touch, especially considering that the included CD is no different than any previous In Session CD release?

Yet there are many reasons for owning this DVD. Obviously, it is interesting to watch these two goliaths work together, but as important, since it's ten years since the CD had been released, we now can observe the looks on their faces, their smiles, and their nods of approval (especially from King towards Vaughan), which I found fascinating. I've listened to the In Session CD many times, but seeing their reactions toward each other offers an entirely new and positive perspective. Additionally, King is a master showman, and it looks as if the then young Mr. Vaughan was taking notes and getting a good schooling. Lastly, it's also fun to hear the additional banter between songs, as a lot of this fun chitchat was omitted on the CD.

In summary, these two discs certainly have their flaws. My guess is that there wasn't a lot of pre-production and preparation, but there's a heck of a lot to enjoy on this once-in-a-lifetime performance. Thank goodness for that!

Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at Bob maybe contacted at:

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