In an age where musical tastes are being shaped by technological innovations, where sensibilities are being assaulted by arsenals of Linn drums and Fairlights and Mini Moogs, it's downright refreshing to see someone playing straight from the gut again.
Here's a doozy. Ten minutes of Stevie Ray Vaughan dishing out some stupendous blues magic on acoustic as part of an MTV Unplugged episode from 1990. Vaughan doesn't waste any time getting busy, and starts out with "Rude Mood," followed by a rousing acoustic "Pride and Joy."
For this week's flashback video, we head to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1984. That's where — and when — Jeff Beck joined Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble on stage to play an impressive mini-set that included "Jeff's Boogie," a 1966 instrumental from the Yardbirds' Roger the Engineer album.
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tone was as dry as a San Antonio summer and as sparkling clean as a Dallas debutante, the product of the natural sound of amps with ample clean headroom. However, Vaughan occasionally used pedals to augment his sound, mainly to boost the signal, although he occasionally employed a rotating speaker cabinet and wah pedals for added textural flair.
When someone is widely hailed as the greatest guitar player ever, how do you step up and cover one of his songs? Have you ever noticed that the ratio of Metallica tribute albums to Hendrix tribute albums is something like 20 to 1? When's the last time you heard someone say, "Yeah, he played it better than Hendrix," without a clearly present sarcastic tone?
Life Without You: Thirty years ago, Stevie Ray Vaughan took the world by storm with Texas Flood. As Sony releases the ultimate anniversary edition of that album, we celebrate the phenomenal rise of the last great blues guitar hero of the 20th century.
It’s definitely true that Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of my all-time favorite guitarists. Ironically, I was never really into Stevie while he was alive. Then, shortly after he died, I got hold of a video of him playing a live show and was just totally blown away by his timing, his tone, his feel, his vibrato, his phrasing — everything. Some people are just born to play guitar, and Stevie was definitely one of them.
Besides functional gear, sensible footwear and a guaranteed ride to gigs, members of good backing bands must have the following qualities: Humility, talent and personality. The best backing bands, of course, have all these qualities — and lots of success. Some of them of have played on countless hits. Some have played a role in music history. Others just have so much talent that they automatically move to the next level.