In Session

In 2000 I was taking a tour of the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, MS and towards the end of the tour I noticed the background music contained sounds, riffs, and styles I could attribute to a couple of familiar blues players. I knew what my ears were telling me but my knowledge base just couldn’t make it real.

srv albert kingAs I walked into the gift shop at the tour’s end I ask a clerk what the music was. He said it was Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King playing together on a CD called In Session. So happened they had it in stock and I picked up a copy to listen to during the remainder of the fishing trip I was on.

Later I discovered The session had taken place in 1984 at a studio in Ontario, Canada and had been filmed. I learned of the film while channel surfing and coming across a PBS channel that was replaying the video during a fundraiser.

About every two years now a local PBS station will rebroadcast the program and this is the year. Before I got out of bed this morning I enjoyed the opening number, Born Under a Bad Sign. In this number Albert does the vocals while he and SRV take turns at playing lead guitar. It’s wonderful to see these two great guitar slingers together, one at the apex of his career and the other just beginning to knock at the doors of fame.

Interesting too is watching their styles. SRV slashing at his signature Fender Stratocaster, assembled from an assortment of used parts and looking like it had survived several world wars, while King, a left-headed player, calmly making his upside-down Gibson Flying V cry like a wounded animal.

Over the years I’ve visited the Delta Blues Museum several times and the best thing I took away with me was having learned about these two giants of blues meeting, In Session.

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