Albert King with
Stevie Ray Vaughan
   
In Session
   
   

Release Date: June 30, 2009
Produced by: N/A
Format: CD

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08/21/2009
Douglas Bice


 

Is there anything better at translating the day to day struggles of life into music as the blues? Trouble with the three W's...work, wimmin, and whiskey provide the canvas for some heartfelt singing and incredible guitar work, both of which are plentiful on In Session.
 
In Session features two of the best blues guitarists trading licks and playing off of each other's talents. Extended guitar jams are prevalent in each of the songs. Would you expect anything less with two world-class guitarists giving their collective best?  In between the songs are some great verbal jousting between the established blues giant and the soon to be legendary protege. "He's got the makins' of a good fiddler" is my favorite example of the good-spirited banter between them. 
 
The opening song, "Stormy Monday" is nine minutes of guitar lightning so tasty that you will need to floss afterwards. Unless you've been living under the proverbial rock, you will recognize the familiar intro riff as "Pride and Joy," which rewards you with some truly inspiring playing.  "Ask Me No Questions" steps away from the guitar dueling and gives us more of an upbeat tempo before "Blues at Sunrise" returns us to the slower-paced guitar workouts. "Overall Junction" reminds us that there is a killer rhythm band featuring stellar keyboards. bass and drumming that augment each song while respectfully giving the guitarists the deserved limelight. "Match Box Blues" tells of being at a crossroads in one's life, a common thread of many great blues songs. "Don't Lie to Me" is a strong cut to finish the set with, with incredible jamming that doesn't slow down until the finish.

The sound quality of this disc is clear and crisp; the guitars and vocals intelligible. But I barely had the volume turned up and already the music was loud which can sometimes indicate poor dynamics. I do not have a copy of the original release, so this may be the way that the recording was mastered, but it still sounds good to these ears. I cannot tell you that this is the best sounding version out there, but unless I fork over big dollars for the now out-of-print SACD, this will do just fine. There is also a nice slip-cover over the CD, as well as some terrific liner notes. So who wins the guitar battle of these blues titans? We listeners do. This CD is the only recording of this legendary pairing and comes highly recommended. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



 
     
     
     

 

 

   
 
     

 

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