Running Time: 69:48
Most SRV fans, Vaughanabes, and die hards will have heard most of these tracks either released or unreleased on this 14 track CD from the late virtuoso’s vault. If you bought the SRV box way back when, most of the stuff was included. However, for those who don’t quite yet have their Vaughan collection complete, this is a good start.
The first track is one of my favorites from Vaughan’s live recorded catalog “The Sky Is Crying” featuring other guitar giants B.B. King and Albert King along with harmonica legend Paul Butterfield. Vaughan plays some quiet fills along next to his teacher Albert King in the opening of the number, showing that the guitar legend knew when to be heard and seen and when not to.
The set unveils a long-time bootlegged 1978 session in Nashville with Vaughan’s then-girlfriend Lou Ann Barton, showing a bare bones style that would later mold into the SRV we all came to know in 1983. The track with Barton on vocals “You Can Have My Husband” is reminiscent of some of the chunk-a-lunk of Stevie’s brother Jimmie with the early portions of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Another great standout track (oft-bootlegged as well) stemming from the SRV-produced Strike Like Lightning album tour with Lonnie Mack is the diabetic-inducing “Oreo Cookie Blues” in which both teacher and student unleash an onslaught of some nasty guitar fretwork.
Another previously unreleased track from 1985’s Saturday Night Live appearance with brother Jimmie, “Change It” demonstrates how Vaughan had come full circle from a backing track on a 1983 David Bowie Top 40 hit (which makes its appearance in this compilation on the final track) to guitar iconoclast in the public eye by the time of his death in 1990.
Other mainstays of the Vaughan catalog that have oft been released by never in single disc form is the live with Jeff Beck “Goin Down,” “Pipeline” with Dick Dale, and “Don’t Stop By the Creek, Son” with Johnny Copeland.
Overall, as a historical disc, you can gather much more of Vaughan’s legacy on some previously released sets like the aforementioned box set released in 2000 or the Blues At Sunrise compilation that demonstrated more of Stevie’s traditional leanings and slow blues textures. More of a marketing deal introducing young guitarists to the great Texas blues-rock hero, this disc likely won’t stay in your rotation for very long for lack of stand out recordings. Better still, it is just another collection piece for many in already wonderful catalog.
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