starring Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan, by the time of the release of his debut album Texas Flood in 1983, was already a road honed and seasoned blues man, having played and toured the blues for at least a decade prior. Along the way he crossed paths with legends, including the amazing Albert King. In December of 1983 the two joined up, recorded, and filmed In Session, capturing the two trading licks on numbers such as King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign,” Ray Charles “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town,” and Stevie’s “Pride and Joy”, among others.
And its good…but it ain’t great, at least as a DVD. The blues are meant to be played in smoky bars after a few drinks, and these guys, sitting on stools in a recording studio, don’t really look awake, much less “in the mood for something rude” as the saying goes. They swap tales of past meetings, forgotten clubs, and performers, and while entertaining, it’s hardly energizing. Albert King sounds magnificent as ever, playing his trademark upside down, backwards strung Flying V and Stevie looks, well, he looks young, but never daunted. While perhaps not as volatile as it would have been performed live, say at the Antones in Austin, the close-ups on the DVD allow us guitarists to marvel at the masterful skills of these two legends, both playing with deceptive ease, obviously comfortable and relaxed. They were two of the best, and now they’re both gone, so we’re grateful to have moments such as this to remember them by. In Session is a great look at some incredible talents — but it’s up to you to supply the party.