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Very Best Of - Stevie Ray Vaughan

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Genre: Blues / Artist: Stevie Ray Vaughan / Audio CD released 2007-11-19 at SonyBMG

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    • More +
      06.04.2010 19:59
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      Stevie Ray Vaughan.

      **Introduction**

      In a decade where Music seemed to be changing towards a more computerized electronic sound one Blues man named Stevie Ray Vaughan fought against the tide with his Blues guitar playing. Stephen Ray Vaughan was born in Dallas, Texas on 3rd October 1954 and was part of a musical family with his brother Jimmie who was born three years before Stevie. The career of the younger brother began aged just seven when he started to play Guitar. It was clear from a young age that he was a very talented player and he soon received praise for his skills.

      With his Fender Stratocaster he was part of a Blues renaissance in the 80s. His first release "Texas Flood" is regarded as one of the greatest Blues debut albums in history. It featured a three instrument line up of Electric Guitar, Bass and Drums which was later copied with huge success by John Mayer in his John Mayer Trio with Pino Paladino and Steve Jordan. Mayer himself is a huge fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan and you can hear that in his playing style.

      **Very Best Of**

      In 1990 Stevie Ray Vaughan's career was cut short when the Helicopter he was flying in crashed into a Hill in Thick Fog on the way to a Concert venue during his tour with Eric Clapton. His legacy was his music that was recorded between 1983-1990 and the four studio albums which were released between those years and two posthumous releases. The very best of Stevie Ray Vaughan was released to mark his biggest and most well known hits.

      1 Pride And Joy
      2 Little Wing
      3 Taxman
      4 Texas Flood
      5 Couldn't Stand The Weather
      6 Tightrope
      7 Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
      8 Scuttle Buttin'
      9 Empty Arms
      10 Life Without You
      11 Look At Little Sister
      12 Change It
      13 Ain't Gone 'n' Gave Up On Love
      14 Boot Hill
      15 Dirty Pool

      **My View**

      1.) Pride and Joy

      Whilst Stevie was known for his gut wrenching Blues he was also very capable of performing the more melody driven tracks like this one. This featured on his debut album and features some fabulously catchy guitar parts which lead into the solos which are just superb and a real example of the obvious guitar talent he had. His voice is also very strong on this track and shows a fine bluesy vocal.

      2.) Little Wing

      This track is a fantastic cover of Jimi Hendrix legendary track from his "Axis/Bold as Love album. This SRV Cover featured on "The Sky Is Crying". This is a fantastic cover which shows off everything you need to know about the guitar playing of Stevie. Emotion, Grace, Power and Poise, It's all there in spades. This is a fantastic cover of what is regarded as one of Jimi Hendrix's best instrumentals. Superb.

      3.) Taxman

      This track is taken from the 1995 Greatest Hits album. This is a cover of a George Harrison track which was written as a protest against High Taxes. It was the opening track on The Beatles "Revolver" album. This is a fine cover version which keeps the subject of the lyrics centre stage. A very good track of one of the lesser known Beatles tracks.

      4.) Texas Flood

      This is one of my favourite tracks from Stevie Ray Vaughan and it has that explosive guitar sound which he was known for. This one is crammed full of outstanding licks and guitar breaks. I absolutely love the backing from the drums and bass which gives the song a whole different emotive quality which really gets to your gut. This features awesome guitar work, vocals and just overall musicianship from Stevie and his band.

      5.) Couldn't Stand the weather

      This is a fantastic track which whilst not as well known as a couple of his others on here is still a great example of his music. Great in it's rhythm and melody it also features some great progressive guitar solos which really add to the track. His band Double Trouble are again Superb with the backing Drums and Bass guitar. This is a fine track and one not to be overlooked.

      6.) Tightrope

      This track is from the 1989 album "In Step" and this was co written by Doyle Bramhall and you can really hear his influence on the song. What follows is a guitar solo which reminds me of the clear Influence in John Mayer's Guitar playing from Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is a very good track indeed and one that shows some great melodies and guitar work.

      7.) Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

      There are many songs which don't seem right covering but in my opinion this is one track which has had some really exceptional covers of it. The original was of course by Jimi Hendrix and this is a fine Live version of Stevie's interpretation. It shows that his guitar playing is impeccable and the backing Double Trouble do a fantastic job of playing along to the rhythm, This is a fine fine cover version indeed.

      8.) Scuttle Buttin

      This is another fast paced affair and at 1m 52 it's one of his shortest tracks. It's a very decent little track which shows his fast rhythmic playing to great effect, I would like to have seen this one be a little longer as it would have been even better but it's still very good. This track opens his second album Couldn't Stand the Weather which was released in 1984.

      9.) Empty Arms

      This track is from the 1991 "The Sky is Crying" which is a compilation of his work with Double Trouble. This is a fast paced track with a great toe tapping feel. Stevie's playing is very good indeed on this one. It moves along with a superb melodic feel and features some fine Blues vocals from Stevie Ray Vaughan.

      10.) Life Without You

      This is a really emotive ballad which is about how you feel after someone you loved has gone and how empty your life feels without them. This is Stevie Ray Vaughan at his best with a fantastic progression from the opening to when his awesome guitar work really comes in. A really superb track from an Outstanding talent, A Fabulously emotive guitar solo from Stevie Ray Vaughan really tops off this one.

      11.) Look at Little Sister

      This track comes from the album "Soul to Soul" and has some great piano work which adds to the great feel of this track. This track features some fantastic saxophone work and shows a different musical side to SRV. His guitar playing is superb and very vibrant and his voice is strong and loud. Another very fine example of the talent of Stevie.

      12.) Change It

      We continue with the mid eighties as This is a catchy track which is from his 1985 release "Soul to Soul", The guitar playing is not as fluid as some other SRV but this is another very good track indeed which has a very good flow and his vocals are again strong. Another very strong showing.

      13.) Ain't Gone 'n' Gave Up On Love

      This fine blues track is about staying strong despite a breakup and having faith that there will be someone who you fall for soon enough. The emotive quality is there for all to hear and this is one of his finest tracks of his career. The guitar work is so emotive and builds beautifully until he erupts in a guitar orgasm of blues emotion. A Superb, Superb track.

      14.) Boot Hill

      From the opening bars of this track you know that you are in for something special. This is a vibrant full pelt loud and brash Blues track. It features fine piano work and superb overall instrumentation as well as Stevie's superb guitar work which underpins the whole track. When Stevie did up tempo he did it this good. Superb track.

      15.) Dirty Pool

      This is a fine ending to a fine collection, This live track is a fabulous mix of Gut wrenching Blues and Smoky Motown Soul. The guitar playing on this track is absolutely superb and this track features some of his best guitar work of his career. It's an absolutely breathtaking live performance from start to finish and that's also due to the fine musical backing by all other musicians too. Superb.

      **Overall**

      When he was alive it was clear that he would have been one of the all time greatest Blues had ever seen. 20 Years on from his death and with his body of work out there it's clear to see that he IS one of the greatest Blues artists there ever was. He was an amazing guitarist, has a voice which he used as an emotive instrument to aid his guitar playing and he has a body of work which demonstrates his quality. His influence is obvious when you look at the likes of John Mayer, Joe Bonamassa and Joanne Shaw Taylor for example you can hear SRV's style in their playing. This is a superb collection of Great Stevie Ray Vaughan.

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      • More +
        08.01.2010 20:11
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        Embrace.

        A little after midnight on the 27th of August 1990, the blues world lost one of its most treasured sons. At just 35 years of age, Texan born guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Wisconsin, USA.

        Released in 2007 by Sony BMG, 'The Best Of Stevie Ray Vaughan' is a compilation of Stevie's work with his band Double Trouble and contains 15 tracks - 6 of which are cover versions - from his all too short career.

        First of all I would advise that you not be swayed by the title of the album. Posthumous releases sit a little uncomfortably with me. I've no problem at all with the contributing musicians getting a few extra dimes but when the great man himself isn't here to oversee and acknowledge an offering of his supposed best work then to me it smacks a little bit of grave robbing by the big wigs.

        Stevie was born in Dallas, Texas so naturally always got labelled with the 'Texas Blues' sub genre tag. True, Texan blues probably leans toward a more emphatic guitar feel but Stevie didn't stick to a rigid style - he was far too gifted to be kept on a leash. His touch and feel was exquisite. Ghostly and wispy during silky flourishes that could tie knots into the fretboard of his beloved battered 1963 Stratocaster, to spring loaded nostril flaring twangs that could spar with anything that any guitar player from any genre could offer, he was a one-off. When Eric Clapton first heard Stevie play, he didn't pick up his guitar for days - this was not a sulky prima donna rock star strop it was in fact a compliment of sorts.

        Whether played clean or distorted, Vaughan's signature on a piece is instantly recognisable. The secret to Stevie's distinctive thick tubey tone for me was not in the amplification but the heavy gauge of strings he used. Considering the bends and licks he was able to conjure up, his fingertips must have been gnarled to the bone and he would have needed a good strong left hand, but damn, it sounded good and when SRV boarded the blues train it stopped for nothing and no-one. He also used to tune slightly flat which would have added to the tone and taken some of the hefty string strain away though this was more than likely done to aid his vocal range.

        What I think this album is trying to be is a 'Variations Of Stevie Ray Vaughan' rather than a 'Best Of'. Vaughan's best work in my opinion was his live performances and I do feel that live work is the only true way to comprehensively define an artiste. Sadly there are only but 2 on here but that doesn't mean the rest of the album is to be dismissed - far, far from it, Stevie's playing is gold dust.

        On here we have the standard 12 bar chugs such as 'Pride and Joy', 'Texas Flood', 'Look at Little Sister' and also some lush slower blues in the form of 'Ain't Gone Gave Up On Love' and 'Life Without You' - which features a surprisingly agreeable sci-fi keyboard trill as an intro. There is also a cover version of the George Harrison written 'Taxman' which, although the lyrics are a bit cack, is quite listenable.

        'Couldn't Stand The Weather' and 'Tightrope' account for the more funky blues aspect but if the album is trying to capture the versatility of Stevie's work then I can't help but think the subtle little jazz-seeped track 'Gone Home' from his 1985 release 'Soul to Soul' would have been perfect with its ever so slight shades of Barney Kessel. Or perhaps his version of Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition' could have got an airing? Hmm maybe not for Mr Sony and his munchkins.
        However, I am pleased to say the brilliant concise blast 'Scuttle Buttin' made it onto here. At a mere 110 seconds I still regard it as a Stevie classic, clean, curt and with a noodle-like lick that bugs the hell out of amateur players worldwide, it's got Stevie's prints all over it.

        The point though at which Stevie really lays himself on the line is in the cover of the Hendrix songs 'Little Wing' and 'Voodoo Chile'. Now a lot of decent guitar players think that because they are quite accomplished they can play Hendrix. They think because they have the tool and a modicum of ability they can pull it off. No sir, in fact sometimes it's painful, more akin to Joe Pasquale attempting to sing 'Nessun dorma' (apologies if I have implanted that thought in your head - 'None shall sleep' indeed). It takes a certain type of player to cover Hendrix. You need the ability (no problems there, Stevie, in my view, is technically the better player), the feel, the mood, the soul, the ear, the voice and basically the bleeding heart of a lion. A strip of magic must run through your very core otherwise it'll just fall apart at the seams. Vaughan has all these attributes in abundance making him thoroughly qualified to fly the flag. Although he puts a slightly more bluesy edge to proceedings they are quite similar players in the fact that they are both fond of the simultaneous lead and rhythm exchanges.
        Basically, you can trust Stevie with these most cherished of works. 'Little Wing' is one of my favourite Hendrix songs and to be honest he's probably one of only a handful of other players I can stomach it being loaned out to. Deft and subtle, Vaughan caresses and charms the song from out of his Strat using glorious intervals, sweet bends and intricate labyrinthine licks. It's light and shade perfection. He keeps it as an instrumental which suits me fine, as Gustav Mahler once put it:

        "If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music."

        I'm with you on that one Gus old son, though I have to add that Stevie has a great blues voice and as with many other top tier guitar players it often gets overlooked. It's not as growly as a few of the old school rocking-chair-on-porch guys but it does its job more than adequately.

        The 12 minute version of 'Voodoo Chile' comes live and unleashed from Carnegie Hall of all places. It's absolute dynamite and worth buying the album for alone. Even the way he coaxes the cry baby wah-wah out of the intro spreads a wave of goose bumps across my skin. As the song finishes you can catch Stevie joking with the crowd, "It's fun playing Hendrix in Carnegie"- I love that, kind of the equivalent of shouting "Macbeth!" a hundred times at the Globe.

        Would I recommend this album? Of course I would, with highly polished big dangly bells on. It's Stevie Ray Vaughan for gawd's sake, 5-stars no problem. I'd recommend everything he's ever done, but if you only had one to buy, I'd go for his live releases or better still the DVD from his show at El Mocambo, Toronto.
        If you're already a blues fan, I'm probably preaching to the choir but if you're more of a casual listener than let a bit of SRV into your life. You'll be going in right at the top.

        R.I.P. Stevie.


        "The sky is crying, look at the tears roll down the street" - Elmore James.

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      • Product Details

        Disc #1 Tracklisting
        1 Pride And Joy
        2 Little Wing
        3 Taxman
        4 Texas Flood
        5 Couldn't Stand The Weather
        6 Tightrope
        7 Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
        8 Scuttle Buttin'
        9 Empty Arms
        10 Life Without You
        11 Look At Little Sister
        12 Change It
        13 Ain't Gone 'n' Gave Up On Love
        14 Boot Hill
        15 Dirty Pool