Written by General Jabbo
On December 6, 1983, blues history was made when Albert King symbolically passed the torch to one of his most famous disciples, Stevie Ray Vaughan. The pair appeared on the Canadian TV show In Session. While the CD of this performance has been released before, it makes its DVD debut here.
The wait was well worth it as the joy these two legends had playing together is apparent throughout. Interestingly enough, the session almost never happened. King wasn't aware of who Vaughan — who had just released his debut album, Texas Flood — was until he was reminded that he was the same "Little Stevie" who once sat in with King in the 1970s. The relationship between the pair is very much like father and son, with King directing Vaughan — who had been holding back out of respect for his hero — when to cut loose or when to play more restrained.
The DVD opens with King's signature "Born Under a Bad Sign," with the pair trading sizzling leads throughout. King and Vaughan both prove equally adept at not only lead, but also rhythm playing as they lie back and watch the other solo. It's as much a treat for the players to watch each other solo as it is for the viewer.
Up next is an extended "Texas Flood," featuring Vaughan on vocals. King recalls how Vaughan always wanted to sit in with his band and that he'd "play a few good licks and then back off." There's no backing off here however as Vaughan owns the song with a series of blistering licks. King contrasts Vaughan's soloing with a more laid-back feel, further adding to the song's texture. King stands up mid solo (the pair had been seated on stools) as if to announce his presence as Vaughan looks on in awe. It's worth nothing that while King was a left-handed guitarist, he strung his guitar upside down as he had learned on right-handed instruments. So in essence, he was playing these great leads upside down.