Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

Epic, 2000

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Vault-clearing tends to be a dubious proposition, a way to make money off an artists' name while releasing scraps and also-rans that never saw the light of day for a reason. Countless CD reissues have done the same thing, with only the rare example of "bonus tracks" actually justifying the purchase of an entirely new disc.

Although one would expect the same from SRV, this three-disc set (with a short live DVD included) is actually worth the purchase for anyone beyond the casual fan. Thirty-one of the 49 songs here are unreleased tracks, pretty much all of them live, spanning everything from a 1977 performance as Paul Ray & the Cobras to a gaggle of Double Trouble tracks to solo MTV performances. Another handful of tracks come from guest spots Stevie made on records by idol Lonnie Mack, A.C. Reed, Johnny Copeland and Albert King, not to mention brother Jimmie.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Only seven of the songs are from Stevie's actual studio albums, and they are among the obvious picks, presumably here to either entice casual fans or because solid live versions couldn't be found (such as "Scuttle Buttin'," "Change It" and "The House Is Rockin'"). Even the liner notes are thorough, offering essays on Stevie's hard work and ascent, a piece about his favorite guitar (the beat-up Strat dubbed "Number One" that graces the box's cover) and lots of complimentary quotes from fellow musicians.

That's not to say this is all necessary music, of course; there are too many longwinded Hendrix covers, and some of the unreleased outtakes and mid-period live songs just don't rise to the challenge. Still, the Mack and Reed duets burn and there is a joy in hearing the early Double Trouble live outings from 1979-81, such as "They Call Me Guitar Hurricane," the lovely "Lenny," a version of "Collins' Shuffle" from the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival, and the hot "Don't Lose Your Cool." Plus, no matter what you've heard someone do with an acoustic guitar, nothing will prepare you for the MTV Unplugged version of "Rude Mood," which is simply astonishing.

Those interested in learning more about the best blues guitarist of his era, beyond the radio hits, and especially those who want to dig beyond the five studio albums, are advised to check this collection out. SRV is probably the best compilation that could have been put together, honoring Stevie's stellar live performances, commitment to the blues and willingness to jam with just about anybody who shared his sensibilities. For the most part, this is an enjoyable, if not always necessary, compilation of what made Vaughan so beloved by just about everybody, a stature that only grows with each passing year.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2014 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic, and is used for informational purposes only.