Stevie Ray Vaughan: Roadhouse Blues - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Texas R&B
(2003 'Backbeat Books') Paperback.
"We are left with this legacy — and left to wonder how much more this guitar genius might have accomplished." JOHN SWENSON, ROLLING STONE
'roadhouse' is an American institution — the little bar on the edge of
town that comes alive when the sun goes down, where the music drives the
locals to their feet, and keeps them rocking till they drop. No-nonsense, back-to-basic roots music, mixing blues, country, R&B, soul and down-and-dirty rock'n'roll.
is the honorary home of roadhouse music, and the late Stevie Ray
Vaughan its uncrowned king. He arrived in a blaze of guitar glory in the
early 1980s, following hot on the trail of his Texas forebears — from
electric guitar pioneers like Eddie Durham and Charlie Christian to
blues legends like T-Bone Walker, Freddie King, Albert Collins, even his
own big brother Jimmie — but by 1990 Stevie Ray was gone, snatched
away in a freak accident, leaving friends, fellow players and countless
fans to ponder what he might have done next.
More than just a
biography and musical exploration of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Roadhouse Blues
tells the stories of the great Texan musicians that came before him and
influenced him so deeply. It puts in context Stevie Ray's rise to fame
—including the part played in his life by his family, his friends, his
heroes, like Jimi Hendrix, and his addiction to drink and drugs — as
well as the lasting impact that his brief but turbulent life and work
had on his contemporaries, and on later generations of blues fans and
Article properties: Stevie Ray Vaughan: Roadhouse Blues - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Texas R&B
Texas was always ground zero for groundbreaking blues guitarists. Stevie Ray Vaughan came out of that hallowed Lone Star tradition and injected a heady blast of rock into his savage attack. Not only were Freddy and Albert King, Johnny ‘Guitar' Watson, and Lonnie Mack among his heroes, Vaughan drew much from the sonic bombast of Jimi Hendrix, covering several of his best-known pieces.
Born October 3, 1954 in Dallas, Stevie followed in his older brother Jimmie's footsteps as a blues guitarist. Stevie dropped out of high school, moved to Austin in 1972, and played in Krackerjack, the Nightcrawlers, and Paul Ray & the Cobras before forming the Triple Threat Revue with singing bassist W.C. Clark and vocalist Lou Ann Barton. Several members left within a year, so Stevie and Lou Ann formed Double Trouble, named after Otis Rush's seminal '58 Cobra single. Barton soon split to join Roomful of Blues, so Stevie was Double Trouble's sole front man by the dawn of the 1980s.
Former Atlantic Records honcho Jerry Wexler was so impressed with the group that he helped them nail down a slot at the '82 Montreux Jazz Festival—a real rarity for an unsigned band. David Bowie saw Vaughan there and hired him to play on Bowie's 1983 album ‘Let's Dance.' The band had cut a demo tape at Jackson Browne's L.A. studio that eventually found its way to legendary producer John Hammond, who helped get them signed to Epic Records. Double Trouble was by then Vaughan, bassist Tommy Shannon, and drummer Chris Layton, and their stripped-down Texas trio sound fairly leaped out of the grooves of their '83 Epic debut set ‘Texas Flood.' Its title track was the 1958 Duke classic by Larry Davis, and Stevie's own rocking Pride And Joy was one of the album's standouts, thanks to Vaughan's twangy, lightning-bolt axe and drawled vocal.
Vaughan and Double Trouble followed it up the next year with another acclaimed hit LP, ‘Couldn't Stand The Weather.' Drug use threatened to derail Vaughan's momentum more than once, but he and Double Trouble released ‘Soul To Soul' in 1985, ‘Live Alive' the next year, and after he'd cleaned up his act, ‘In Step' in '89. There was also a 1990 collaboration with his brother Jimmie, ‘Family Style.'
Tragically, Vaughan was killed in a Wisconsin helicopter crash on August 27, 1990 after an appearance at Alpine Valley Music Theatre on a star-studded bill with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Robert Cray. Judging from the countless Stevie Ray imitators still on the scene to this day, he'll never be forgotten.