How Stevie Ray Vaughan Met Albert King

Stevie Ray Vaughan

From Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan:

In 1976, Albert King played Antone’s for the first time, on three consecutive nights, April 29 to May 1. King was an intimidating man who stood 6-foot-5 with broad shoulders and usually had a pipe clenched between his teeth, which sparkled with gold. Onstage, his Gibson Flying V looked like a ukulele in his massive hands. His tough tone and aggressive playing style, marked by huge, multiple-string bends, were equally macho. The lefty held his right-handed guitar upside down and tuned in an enigmatic fashion that is still debated, the combination of which gave him a highly distinct style that’s been oft-copied but rarely duplicated. Stevie Ray Vaughan was an exception; Albert King’s style was at the very heart of his playing. He was not going to miss an opportunity to see his idol perform and hopefully to interact with him. Clifford Antone, who died in 2006, said that Stevie begged him to ask Albert to let him sit in.

Recalls Jimmie Vaughan, “It was so far out: nobody would ask Albert King to sit in unless you were dumb or something. I don’t even know if Jimi Hendrix would do it…. Albert didn’t like anyone, but he liked Stevie! He put his arm around him, and from then on it was big Albert and little Stevie.”

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