There was always going to be one obvious item on my list of great yet accessible blues. Perhaps no one guitar player has influenced as many as this man did in the past 25 years. He has been gone for nearly 19 years (on August 27th) and is still as influential now as when he was alive. Stevie Ray Vaughan was solely responsible for the blues revival of the 80′s. When “Texas Flood” came out in 1983 the landscape changed.
I don’t think I need to rehash his whole story as he is familiar to most music fans but I thought maybe I would relate how is recording career started. In 1982 Stevie and his band Double Trouble were invited to play the Montreaux jazz festival where they were soundly boo’ed throughout their show. Not everyone was turned off though as David Bowie and Jackson Browne were very impressed. Bowie quickly offered Vaughan a job and he ended up playing on one of Bowie’s most successful records ever, “Let’s Dance”. Browne offered Stevie and the band free recording time at his studio.
Soon after super talent scout John Hammond Sr. (who was partially responsible for discovering Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Charlie Christian, George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen) arranged a recording contract with Epic Records. The band then used Browne’s offer to record “Texas Flood” in less than a week. The rest they say is history.
“Texas Flood”, was released just shortly after Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” appeared. Vaughan’s reputation had grown quite a bit, in the music business, from his involvemnet with Bowie, but “Texas Flood” was to become a phenomenon for a blues record. It reached number 38 on the charts, and crossed over to album rock radio stations. Vaughan was offered the job of lead guitarist on Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” tour but he chose to stay with Double Trouble.
Thus the ninth item on my list, in no particular order, is Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas Flood”. The impact of this album was immense. Blues was no longer getting any attention and Vaughan was basically unknown. This record changed all that, climbing into the Top 40, made Vaughan a genuine star and put the spotlight back on the blues.
1 Love Struck Baby (Vaughan) 2:24
2 Pride and Joy (Vaughan) 3:40
3 Texas Flood (Davis, Scott) 5:21
4 Tell Me (Burnett) 2:49
5 Testify (Clinton, Taylor) 3:25
6 Rude Mood (Vaughan) 4:40
7 Mary Had a Little Lamb (Guy) 2:47
8 Dirty Pool (Bramhall, Vaughan) 5:02
9 I’m Cryin’ (Vaughan) 3:42
10 Lenny (Vaughan) 4:58