Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan
Concord Music Group / Stax
Normally bluesmen love to jam, but this 1983 Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan session exhibits a strange tension. King had no idea who the unknown Vaughan was or if he could even play and Vaughan was in awe of his idol. Once the music started flowing though, King and Vaughan made the sort of musical sparks we all seek when we visit a dive club with no clear idea of who’s really on stage.
The second musical cut, “Pride and Joy,” pops with Vaughan putting just enough energy into the strings to lift King’s voice up to the heavens. There are some audio commentary tracks in here, nice the first time through but you’ll edit them off the ol’ iPod on the second spin. King tells Vaughan he’s “pretty good, but you can be better” and the unexpected but logical “the better you get the harder you work.” Good advice floats along with even better music, including the 15-minute long “Blues at Sunrise,” complete with an embedded Jimi Hendrix story and extended jams by both Vaughan and King.
There are seven musical cuts on this disc, and each is an outstanding piece of blues work. The tunes are classic, the playing top notch, and the recording and mixing as slick as one could hope for. Nothing tops the live experience, but this disc captures the real excitement of a live show and you don’t have to worry if your car will be there after the show.