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.
It seems like only yesterday that the Fabulous Thunderbirds, an upstart rocking-blues band from Austin, Texas, released their debut album, Girls Go Wild. It was, in fact, more than three decades ago. Since that time, Jimmie Vaughan, the T-birds’ founder and guitarist from 1976 to 1989, has gone from being a skinny kid with a Strat and a perm to one of today’s elder statesmen of the blues.
Since the guitar's inception, there have undoubtedly been talented players that could make the instrument sing, but it wasn't until the mid '60s and the arrival of the wah pedal that one could make it cry.
Here’s a great quality clip of SRV performing “Pride and Joy” in January of 1990 during his MTV Unplugged taping. Vaughan uses a 12-string Guild, which gives the song a completely different vibe than the original, full band recording. “Pride and Joy” originally appeared on his 1983 Epic Records debut, Texas Flood.
OK, so you have your headphones out. What do you want to listen to? Something beautiful? Something cool? Something you’ve never heard before? How about all three? The following are five tracks by some of your favorite bands worth putting under the microscope for reasons listed below. Enjoy!
A lot of super-vintage Stevie Ray Vaughan recordings—including some video—have been turning up on YouTube in recent weeks. Below, you can check out the latest. It's a recording of Paul Ray & The Cobras at the Soap Creek Saloon in Austin, Texas, May 5, 1975.