Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble -- Pride & Joy DVD (Epic/Legacy)
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Friends -- Solos, Sessions, & Encores (Epic/Legacy)
In the nearly 20 years since the tragic loss of Stevie Ray Vaughan, few -- if any -- have been able to equal, let alone surpass, his trailblazing advancements in authentic modern blues guitar playing. Period. Name one. These titles present two distinct facets of Vaughan's career. Pride And Joy is a DVD upgrade of the 1989 VHS home video compilation that now runs twice the original length and is a feast for the eyes and ears.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the audio CD Solos, Sessions & Encores (2007) is a fascinating anthology of Vaughan as a support musician or in collaboration with his peers -- including half-a-dozen songs that make their collective debut.
The DVD edition of Pride And Joy has definitely proved worth the l-o-n-g wait. The original package included the MTV-style (back when the "M" stood for music) concept videos for "Love Struck Baby," Cold Shot," "Couldn't Stand The Weather," "Change It," "The House Is Rockin'," "Crossfire" and the outstanding overhaul of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" from Live/Alive (1986).
While on the subject, not to be missed is the incendiary reading of Howlin' Wolf's "I'm Leaving You (Commit A Crime)" shot before an enthusiastic crowd in New Orleans circa February of 1987. Plus, added to the DVD' s expanded running order is the film created for Vaughan and Double Trouble's update of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" -- from the posthumous The Sky Is Crying (1991) collection.
Next up are acoustic renditions of “Rude Mood,” “Pride and Joy” and “Testify” taken from Vaughan's January 30, 1990 guest shot during the premier season of MTV’s Unplugged. These are followed by the promo videos for "Tick Tock" and "Good Texan" done after Stevie Ray's death for the Jimmie Vaughan and Stevie Ray Vaughan outing Family Style (1991). Tucked in there somewhere are a few shorter items, such as the mid '80s television adverts for Couldn't Stand The Weather (1984) and Soul To Soul, as well as the audio/visual press kit (aka electronic press kit) for the aforementioned Vaughn siblings Family Style. Audiophiles should also take note as the sound has been completely upgraded with both a fresh Dolby stereo and Dolby 5.1 Surround mix.
The new Solos, Sessions & Encores is a project that many Vaughan fans and aficionados have long been clamoring for. Housed within are 14 tracks spanning Stevie Ray's entire professional career and spotlight him as a sideman or guest. Wasting nary a second, the set opens with an all-star confab consisting of Albert King, B. B. King, Paul Butterfield, and of course Vaughan himself as they grind through the nearly seven-minute version of Elmore James' "The Sky Is Cryin'" that initially surfaced as part of a 1987 B. B. King tribute.
Entries in the 'must hear' category are recently unearthed performances with Vaughan standing tall beside his heroes and blues icons Lonnie Mack ("Oreo Cookie Blues"), Crescent City staple Katie Webster ("On The Run"), Albert Collins ("Albert's Shuffle"), brother Jimmy Vaughan from a one-time only appearance on Saturday Night Live ("Change It") and Bonnie Raitt ("Texas Flood") -- all of which are live. Reaching all the way back to 1978 is an unfinished collaboration with Nashville vocalist Lou Ann Barton and bassist W. C. Clark as part of the Triple Threat Revue on the update of Irma Thomas' 1960 soul hit "You Can Have My Husband (But Don’t Mess With My Man)". The on-stage face off between Jeff Beck and Vaughn on "Goin' Down" was definitely one of the highlights of the SRV (2000) box set and 'the powers that be' were wise in their selection of that historic encounter.
Similarly, Vaughan's contributions to studio sides from Marcia Ball ("Soulful Dress"), Johnny Copeland ("Don't Stop By The Creek, Son"), A. C. Reed ("Miami Strut"), Bill Carter ("Na-Na-Ne-Na-Nay"), Dick Dale ("Pipeline") and David Bowie ("Let's Dance") provide insight into the artist's inventive approaches to a fairly diverse array of top-shelf talent.
Lindsay Planer is a freelance journalist based out of the Piedmont of North Carolina. He's a frequent contributor to All Music Guide, All Movie Guide, CrutchfieldAdvisor.com and the Gaston Gazette.
All comments and questions are encouraged and can be sent to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.