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Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan: Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan

There was no more formidable, ferocious, and just plain ornery blues guitarist ever than the late, great Albert King. As rock guitar icon Joe Walsh once put it: “There are a lot of hot guitar players out there today who can fly all over the fretboard in all kinds of amazing ways, like Eddie Van Halen. But Albert King could blow Eddie Van Halen off the stage…with his amp on standby!” Or as the late blues-rock god Stevie Ray Vaughan said: “Albert is so nasty!”

Back in December of 1983, Albert and his protege Stevie Ray got together in Ontario, Canada, for a taping of the syndicated television show In Session, which paired musicians who were stylistically related but seldom had an opportunity to perform together. The recent discovery and release of the tapes from that show (In Session, Stax 7501-2; 63:53) represents a treasure trove of bent-string euphoria for blues guitar fanatics. At the time of this taping, Stevie Ray’s career was on a meteoric upswing. He had just solidified his reputation as the baddest guitar slinger in Texas with a special guest spot on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance (on which he summoned up his best Albert King impression for those groove-heavy dance tracks) and with his own highly successful Epic debut, Texas Flood.

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