Stevie Ray Vaughan’s distinctive playing style is earmarked by equal parts pure power, intensity of focus, razor-sharp precision and deeply emotional conviction. And then there’s his tone—probably the best Stratocaster-derived sound ever evoked from the instrument.
The idea of Stevie Ray Vaughan covering a funky song by the great R&B band the Isley Brothers might seem bizarre until you consider that rhythm and blues was a big part of the Double Trouble playbook. Besides, his choice of “Testify” makes perfect sense when you realize that the guitarist on the Isley’s original 1964 version was none other than his hero, Jimi Hendrix.
Because the reception in the mountains was terrible and full of static, I couldn't hear it clearly. But it sounded like a "new" Stevie Ray Vaughan song; the guitar playing and the vocals sounded like the late SRV, who had died five years earlier. I could make out some of the lyrics, which included stuff like "I've been gone too long." It as if the late SRV was saying howdy from the grave.
Stevie Ray Vaughan released four studio albums, a live album and a Vaughan Brothers album, not to mention enough leftover live and studio material to fill several posthumous albums and a box set. He even found the time to perform on albums by several other artists — from Teena Marie to Stevie Wonder to Don Johnson — very often with fiery results.
This video, a clip of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Dick Dale performing "Pipeline," one of the most famous surf-guitar instrumentals of all time, has got it all. I mean, you've got Stevie Ray Vaughan, a righty ... you've got the under-appreciated Dick Dale, a lefty ... you've got Dick Dale's bizarre hair ... you've got Annette Funicello ... you've got some lovely Fender Stratocasters ...
Even though this video has been viewed more than three million times — it still strikes me as something of a rare bird (probably because I've — somehow — never seen it before!). The clip, which was shot in January 1986, shows Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble playing three songs — "Scuttle Buttin'," "Ain't Gone 'n' Give Up On Love" and "Say What!" — during a sound check.