replay: a clip too good for just one day
Performances like this usually fall somewhere between disappointing and disastrous. So many things can—and usually do—go wrong when you take a bunch of folks who’re used to leading their own bands and throw them together onstage. People trip all over each another; flash trumps feeling. But this performance, with Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Paul Butterfield, and (at the end) B.B. King, has plenty of strong moments—some funny ones, too. Listen to Albert bark at Paul: “Turn around!” (0:39) And watch Albert outfox B.B. First he invites him back onstage (4:40) and then, just when B.B.’s about to take flight (5:55), he cuts him off—faster than you can say “wham”—with his own (wonderful) solo. So much for Emily Post.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Paul Butterfield, B.B. King, “The Sky Is Crying,” live, 1987
A radio station that’s well worth checking out, if you’re not already familiar with it, is WKCR-FM, which broadcasts from NYC’s Columbia University. Like pretty much everything else these days, it’s available on-line. Among other things, it features a daily dose of Charlie Parker on “Bird Flight” (M-F, 8:30-9:30 a.m. [EDT]), hosted by Phil Schaap (profiled last year, by David Remnick, in the New Yorker), as well as, on Sunday, two excellent shows devoted to Indian music (6:00-8:00 a.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. [EDT]). (Another nice thing: the folks there are readily accessible; while listening yesterday, for instance, I heard an intriguing piece [by Alfred Schnittke] that I didn’t get the name of; I emailed them a query and, by the end of the night, had a response from the DJ.)
(Originally posted 9/18/09.)
The look on B.B.’s face at 6:30 — if it is a look — seems to say a lot.
WKCR — long may it wave. It was one of the great influences of my youth — three or four or more hours of old blues every Saturday afternoon.