SRV’s Texas Flood Celebrates a Milestone.
Today, with the immense amount of festivals, releases and forums that presently exist for blues music, it is hard to imagine a time when the genre was so far outside of the mainstream that it could’ve been considered “underground;” being almost entirely confined to a smattering of local scenes across the country.
The post-disco and post-punk era of the early 1980s was in many ways “the time that the blues forgot.” New Wave was fashionable, synthesizers were “in,” MTV had arrived and the blues boom of the late-60s and the southern/blues rock trends of the early-70s were long over. Michael Jackson’s THRILLER was about to change the face of popular music and rock’s leading guitar-titan, Los Angeles’ Edward Van Halen, was so masterfully concealing his blues-rock roots behind distortion, overdrive and lightning fast fret-work that fans of the day had no idea that they were being sonically bombarded with the culmination of almost half of a century’s worth of blues guitar evolution. Then in 1983 Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s TEXAS FLOOD hit stores and the course of “the blues” was altered forever.
It may have been merely a series of fortuitous events (including a now legendary performance at 1982’s Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and chance meetings with David Bowie and Jackson Brown) that led to the Austin-based trio’s debut album, but its arrival and success opened the flood gates to a blues and blues-rock revival that’s impact is still felt to this very day.
A well-produced studio effort, TEXAS FLOOD was made over a course of just three days and contains some of Vaughan’s most loved compositions as well as a handful of his most recognizable covers; including “Love Struck Baby,” “Pride and Joy,” “Texas Flood,” “Testify,” “Rood Mood,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Dirty Pool” and “Lenny.” Clearly made up of songs that had been fine-tuned to perfection during years on the road, this iconic album stands as a wonderfully tight and energetic debut recording by one of the blues’ (and rock’s) greatest fallen stars.
It is an album that has been cherished by fans for the past three decades and it still holds up beautifully today. In 1999 it was reissued with five bonus tracks, but now fans can revel in a 30th Anniversary 2CD Legacy Edition that consists of the original album, a studio outtake of “Tin Pan Alley” (also featured on the 1999 reissue), new liner notes by music historian Ashley Kahn and an entire previously unreleased live set that was originally recorded for a 1983 radio broadcast for Philadelphia’s WMMR.
Recorded on October 20th, 1983 at Ripley’s Music Hall in Philadelphia, the hour long live set that makes up the entire 2nd disc of this latest reissue was at one time a popular item on the bootleg trading circuit, but today, thanks to the good people at Epic & Sony Legacy, all of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s fans have another chance to hear the raw live power that was Double Trouble in concert. Chuck full of songs from the group’s above mentioned debut album, as well as a few tasty Hendrix covers, this live recording may not be among Vaughan’s all-time best, but it is quite good and a wonderful glimpse at the group during their rise to stardom.
Vaughan’s guitar-work on the extended live versions “Texas Flood” and “Little Wing/Thirds Stone from the Sun” is nothing short of breathtaking and the addition of seven other (previous unreleased) live recordings makes answering the question that is inevitably on the minds of all potential buyers very easy.
Is this latest reissue worth the cost of the “upgrade?” The answer is yes…absolutely.
If you enjoyed this article, checkout The American Blues News’ review for Jimmie Vaughan Plays More Blues, ballads & Favorites.
NYC blues fans, check out J. Blake at www.jblakeblues.com.
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