Friday, July 13, 2007

Number 592 - Stevie Ray Vaughan

Number 592

Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Pride & Joy"


Stevie Ray Vaughan was (still is) one of my favourite guitarist/blues singers of all time. When he died in a helicopter accident in 1990 it was devastating news, not only for his fans, but also what music had lost that fateful day. Eric Clapton was meant to have caught that flight, but he gave it up for Vaughan, his friend. And if that was not bad enough, Clapton lost his 4 year old son the following year, falling from a 53 story apartment.
Rolling Stone Magazine voted Stevie Ray Vaughan as the "worlds" 7th greatest guitarist of all time, but of course they would say that, now that he is dead. They always say its a good career move. I'd rather have him back, he was my legend & unlike Rolling Stone i prefer my legends being living legends.

It's hard to overestimate the impact Stevie Ray Vaughan's debut, Texas Flood, had upon its release in 1983. At that point, blues was no longer hip, the way it was in the '60s. Texas Flood changed all that, climbing into the Top 40 and spending over half a year on the charts, which was practically unheard of for a blues recording. Vaughan became a genuine star and, in doing so, sparked a revitalization of the blues. This was a monumental impact, but his critics claimed that, no matter how prodigious Vaughan's instrumental talents were, he didn't forge a distinctive voice; instead, he wore his influences on his sleeve, whether it was Albert King's pinched yet muscular soloing or Larry Davis' emotive singing. There's a certain element of truth in that, but that was sort of the point of Texas Flood.

Vaughan didn't hide his influences; he celebrated them, pumping fresh blood into a familiar genre. When Vaughan and Double Trouble cut the album over the course of three days in 1982, he had already played his set lists countless times; he knew how to turn this material inside out or goose it up for maximum impact. The album is paced like a club show, kicking off with Vaughan's two best self-penned songs, "Love Struck Baby" and "Pride and Joy," then settling into a pair of covers, the slow-burning title track and an exciting reading of Howlin' Wolf's "Tell Me," before building to the climax of "Dirty Pool" and "I'm Crying." Vaughan caps the entire thing with "Lenny," a lyrical, jazzy tribute to his wife. It becomes clear that Vaughan's true achievement was finding something personal and emotional by fusing different elements of his idols. Sometimes the borrowing was overt, and other times subtle, but it all blended together into a style that recalled the past while seizing the excitement and essence of the present. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, [All Music Guide]

Interesting facts about his Death

On January 3, 1990, Vaughan gave an AA speech and addressed the Aquarius Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. On January 30, 1990, Vaughan made his first appearance on MTV Unplugged, sharing the stage with Joe Satriani.

Stevie spoke two years earlier about wanting to help produce an album with his brother, Jimmie Vaughan. That time came in March 1990 when the Vaughan Brothers went to work at the Dallas Sound Labs in Dallas, Texas, the same studio used to record Soul to Soul (album).

During the final weeks before his death, Stevie spoke of singing beginning to hurt him with a condition he liked to call "hamburger throat". He had accupuncture done to his neck, but had to take cortisone shots to relieve the pain, which made his face puff up.
On August 25, 1990, Vaughan and Double Trouble finished up the summer leg of the tour with shows at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, just outside of East Troy, Wisconsin. The show also featured Robert Cray and his Memphis Horns along with Eric Clapton's set. Alex Hodges, Double Trouble's tour manager, arranged flight by helicopter with Omni Flights.

The next morning on August 26, 1990, Vaughan had what was described as a "horrible" nightmare. He dreamt that he was at his own funeral and saw thousands of mourners. He felt "terrified, yet almost peaceful". He shared this story with his bandmates and some trusted crew members. The band played that night, as bass player Tommy Shannon hopped a helicopter already back to Chicago.

Eric Clapton played his set next. At the end of the show, as fog settled over the audience in the arena, Clapton introduced Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray, Robert Cray, and Jimmie Vaughan. The musicians chose the appropriate titled "Sweet Home Chicago", a blues classic written by Robert Johnson.

After the 15-minute jam, the lights went up and the musicians went backstage to trade compliments. Clapton and Vaughan talked about future dates in London to pay a tribute to Jimi Hendrix.

Double Trouble drummer, Chris Layton, recalls his last conversation with Vaughan backstage. He then remembers Vaughan saying he had to call his girlfriend, Janna Lapidus, back in Chicago. He headed out the door to the helicopters.

The musicians expected a long bus ride back to Chicago. Vaughan was informed by a member of Clapton's crew that three seats were open on one of the helicopters returning to Chicago with Clapton's crew, enough for Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, and Jimmie Vaughan's wife Connie. It turned out there was only one seat left, which Stevie Ray Vaughan requested from his brother, who obliged. Stevie strapped himself next to Clapton's crew. It was 12:44 am. Pilot Jeffrey Browne guided the copter off the ground as the lights flashed below. Seconds later, the pilot banked the copter into a 300-foot high hill with the twisted metal scattered over an area of 200 square feet. Various pieces of metal from the copter had gotten caught in Stevie's aorta, which made him start losing blood. As there were no cries for help, no fire, or no witnesses, Vaughan officially died at 12:44:09 am of excessive blood loss. No one realized that the crash had occurred until the helicopter failed to arrive in Chicago, and the wreckage was only found with the help of its locator beacon. The main cause of the crash was believed to be pilot error. Chris Layton, Jimmie and his wife were waiting for their copter so they could leave. However they hadn't found out about the news until they returned to the motel in Chicago. The next morning Stevie Ray Vaughan's brother Jimmie and good friend Eric Clapton were called to identify the bodies.

The media initially reported that Vaughan and his band had been killed in the crash. Chris Layton saw this on the news and had security let him into Vaughan's motel room. Layton saw that the bed was made and the clock radio was playing the Eagles' song, "Peaceful, Easy Feeling", which includes the lyrics "I may never see you again". Layton and Shannon then called their families to let them know they were okay.

Stevie Ray Vaughan is interred in the Laurel Land Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas.

For Joe Satriani see Number 688
For Double Trouble see Number 899
For Eric Clapton see Number 537
For Jimi Hendrix see Number 718

What did Rolling Stone think of Stevie Ray Vaughan?
The Good News: Stevie Ray Vaughan plays true Texas-style blues guitar all over this debut album with his Austin-based band, Double Trouble. No synthesizers, no Beatleisms, no overt attempts to Make You Dance. Double Trouble's basic trio format allows Vaughan (the brother of Fabulous Thunderbird Jimmy Vaughan and lead guitarist on David Bowie's Let's Dance LP) to do what he obviously loves best, which is to whip it out. He plays stinging Stratocaster leads on "Pride and Joy," gut-wrenching runs throughout the title tune and a roiling combination of Berry, boogie and ensemble horn lines on "Love Struck Baby." The few modernisms that do obtrude are strictly six-string oriented: the delicately detailed Hendrix-like landscape of "Lenny" and the rampant riffery of "Rude Mood," which finds Vaughan obviously gunning for Jeff Beck. All of this is most refreshing, and I don't even mind the singing, which at least is genuinely generic.
The Bad News: Stevie Ray can't write–and we all know how boring white blues can become without some semblance of a tune upon which to hang all the pyrotechnics. So what if "Testify" sounds a lot like Jimi without the wah-wah pedal; Hendrix may have been a blues player par excellence, but above all else, he was Hendrix–an original. Stevie Ray does his thing well, but essentially, it's somebody else's thing.
The Verdict: Texas Flood is well worth hearing, even if you have heard it all before. After all, it's been a long time, right?
(RS 402)
Considering Rolling Stone rank him Number 7 in the world for his guitaring, this review is pretty pathetic.
For David Bowie see Number 634
For Jeff Beck see Number 636
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Found us out have you crowbarred?) and the Album ranked at (Yes we ranked him 7th, we needed the sales)
(Finally... Honesty)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 72.4 out of 108

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