Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan

  • In Session [Stax, 1999] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

In Session [Stax, 1999]
About a year later, in October 1984, Vaughan would throw a birthday party at Carnegie Hall with his brother Jimmy, Dr. John, and the Roomful of Blues horns. This was just a Canadian TV taping with the stalwart bluesman, who barely remembered jamming with the skinny young kid in Austin years before. With Vaughan dead (oh right, King too), both these events are now CD-available for keepsake-hungry fans. Rockers always overrated Albert King, whose broad aesthetic was longer on power than definition, but here his presence has a quieting effect on his disciple, who in the end did far more with a closely related aesthetic. And since King is the putative star, we get his repertoire, a big problem with the endless Vaughan reissue program, and his singing, which is stronger than Stevie's. So to my surprise, this is the one to wear around your neck. A-