Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble – LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL – Epic 68163


With the release of this CD and the remastered studio material that came out in `99 we seem to have been granted the good luck of hearing some really good outtakes and some amazing live playing from SRV that should be a welcomed addition to anyone’s collection. Since the record vaults are our only source of new SRV stuff these days, their contents help us deal with his passing as it appears he had so much more music within. This should have been out years ago. We can only hope that Sony will put more live stuff like this out in the future!
Carnegie Hall has always been a goal for artists of all styles of music. The bluesmen who have made it there have invariably worked their butts off and paid their dues, more than they probably should have. But after so many gigs on the road, the rewards of playing Carnegie Hall are usually increased awareness of the public and increased sales of product.

Born Oct. 3, 1954, Stevie Ray finally got to play this renowned hall the day after his 30th birthday. Double Trouble, (bassist Tommy Shannon, drummer Chris Layton), were augmented on this occasion by brother Jimmie Vaughan, vocalist Angela Strehli, pianist Dr. John and the Roomful of Blues horn section.

The first six songs find Double Trouble in fine form, playing in the tradition of power-trios like Jimi Hendrix and Cream, but the sound is pure Texas blues that reminds me of SRV’s fellow Texan, Johnny Winter more than any rock act.

Educating the audience was one of the things that Stevie tried to do by paying homage to Guitar Slim on “The Things That I Used to Do” (with brother Jimmie on guitar); Albert King on C.O.D. (with vocals by Strehli); and Albert Collins on “Collins Shuffle”. But he also got to debut some of his own songs for the crowd, who responded with quite a bit more volume than usual, for the venue.

Back in Austin, during the early `80s, SRV was in the clutches of drugs, and alcohol. But Stevie Ray still managed to somehow take blues guitar into the realm of rock and roll, much like Jimi Hendrix did in the `60s, only to a much wider audience than Jimi.

Stevie Ray’s playing is clean and inspired on this release. Especially on the encore where he really gets the emotions flowing when he returns to the stage alone to play a solo “Lenny”, the beautiful ballad written for his ex-wife.

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