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Out Of The Vault – Stevie Ray Vaughan, October 19, 2013

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October 25, 2013 • Eric DavisDownload the podcast (right click and "save as.")
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SRV’s Birthday – October 12th

Stephen "Stevie" Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer. Often referred to by his initials SRV, Vaughan is best known as a founding member and leader of Double Trouble. With drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon, they ignited the blues revival of the 1980s. With a career spanning seven years, Vaughan and Double Trouble consistently sold out concerts while their albums frequently went gold.

Stephen Ray Vaughan was born on October 3, 1954, at Methodist Hospital in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Texas, as the younger brother of Jimmie Vaughan. His father, Jimmie Lee "Big Jim" Vaughan, was an asbestos worker whose job often forced the family to move to different cities, while his mother, Martha Jean (Cook) Vaughan, worked as a secretary.

After trying to play the drums and saxophone, Vaughan received his first guitar for his seventh birthday: a plastic toy from Sears with a western motif. Among the first songs Vaughan learned were "Wine, Wine, Wine" and "Thunderbird" by The Nightcaps, a Dallas garage rock band, along with Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do". With no interest in formal music training, Vaughan studied by ear and played along to Jimmie's records by such blues musicians as Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Albert King and B.B. King. In 1963, he purchased his first record, Lonnie Mack's "Wham!", after asking the record store clerk for the "wildest guitar record" they had; Mack soon became a prominent influence on Vaughan. Upon listening to Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze", he also became another significant influence on Vaughan's style.

Devoted to the instrument, Martha described Vaughan was "pretty much a loner", saying that the guitar was "his life". He was regarded by Jimmie as shy, yet polite and nice: "He wasn't obnoxious. He was very nice, you know; he wasn't mean or anything. I mainly remember that he wanted to go everywhere; wherever I went, he wanted to go. And he always wanted to know what was going on, what we were doing, why we were doing it, and just real curious. We were just normal brothers. I would go first and then he would. I think it was normal; seemed normal to me." Spending most of his childhood in uncertainty, Vaughan described his early years as "hard times". He would fight with his father who, after having a few drinks, would often become violent. Jimmie concurred that Big Jim would "go off like a rocket" and filled their life at home with tension.   At age 17, he dropped out of high school and moved to Austin to pursue a career in music, joining groups such as Krackerjack, the Nightcrawlers, and the Cobras. In 1977, he formed Triple Threat Revue, a band that regularly performed around Austin and eventually evolved into Double Trouble. In 1982, Vaughan and Double Trouble performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, catching the attention of musicians David Bowie and Jackson Browne. Bowie asked Vaughan to play on his upcoming studio album Let's Dance and Browne offered the band free use of his personal studio in Los Angeles to record an album.  In March 1983, veteran record producer John Hammond Sr. of Epic Records signed Vaughan and Double Trouble and released their debut album, Texas Flood in June of that year. While successfully touring, the group released the albums, Couldn't Stand the Weather (1984) and Soul to Soul (1985), the latter of which featured keyboardist Reese Wynans. Although his career had progressed successfully, Vaughan checked into a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Georgia to give up a cocaine and alcohol addiction and returned to touring with the band. In June 1989, they released In Step, which earned them a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Performance. On August 27, 1990, Vaughan died in a helicopter crash following a performance in East Troy, Wisconsin.

Vaughan derived his uniquely eclectic yet intense style from a variety of musical genres. He was influenced by blues musicians including Albert King, Freddie King, Otis Rush, and Muddy Waters, as well as rock guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack. His guitar playing, for which he has received wide critical recognition, reflected the pentatonic blues scales. He ranked number seven on Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Guitarists" and was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, the same year a memorial statue in his honor was erected in Austin's Auditorium Shores park. Vaughan is widely considered one of the greatest musicians to come from the state of Texas.

Vaughan Brothers – PIPELINE (THEME) – (Brian Carman, Bob Spickard)  "Pipeline" is a surf rock tune by The Chantays, which was recorded in 1962.  The tune, originally called "Liberty's Whip", was renamed after the band members saw a surfing movie showing scenes of the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii. Although they had a myriad of surf tunes, "Pipeline" was the Chantays' only hit single, and is considered one of the landmarks of the surf genre. The track's distinctive sound was largely due to the mix being "upside down"; the bass guitar, electric piano and rhythm guitar were at the forefront, while the lead guitar and drums were buried. The brothers played this version together on a double-necked guitar.  Recorded live in New Orleans, 1987.  Unreleased.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – COLD SHOT (MUSIC VIDEO VERSION) - (W. C. Clark, Michael Kindred) – From Couldn't Stand the Weather the second studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, released May 15, 1984.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – LIFE BY THE DROP - (Doyle Bramhall, Barbara Logan) – From The Sky Is Crying, a posthumous studio album containing performances spanning most of the career of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Released about one year after Vaughan's death in 1990, the album features ten previously unreleased tracks, originally recorded between 1984 and 1989. Only one title, "Empty Arms" (complete reprisal), appeared on any of the group's previous albums. The tracks were compiled by Vaughan's brother, Jimmie Vaughan, in an effort to release the title track.  The Sky Is Crying illustrates many of Vaughan's musical influences, including songs in the style of traditional Delta blues, Chicago blues, jump blues, jazz blues, and Jimi Hendrix. The album's tone alternates primarily between up-tempo pieces and gritty, slow blues. The album includes a Grammy-winning extended instrumental cover version of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing"; "Chitlins con Carne", a jazz instrumental; and, "Life by the Drop", a song written by Vaughan's friend Doyle Bramhall and played on a twelve-string acoustic guitar. This song is not about Vaughan's struggle with drug abuse, as many think, but actually about Vaughan's friendship with Doyle Bramhall from Bramhall's perspective.

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Stevie Ray Vaughan – PRIDE AND JOY - (Stevie Ray Vaughan) – From Texas Flood, the debut album of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, released June 13, 1983.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – CROSSFIRE - (Bill Carter, Ruth Ellsworth, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, Reese Wynans) - From In Step, the fourth studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released 1989.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – THE HOUSE IS ROCKIN’ - (Doyle Bramhall, Stevie Ray Vaughan).  Also taken from In Step.

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Stevie Ray Vaughan – SUPERSTITION (LIVE) – (Stevie Wonder) - "Superstition" is a popular song written, produced, arranged, and performed by Stevie Wonder for Motown Records in 1972. It was the lead single for Wonder's Talking Book album.  Recored on “It’s Only Rock and Roll!’ TV show, 1987.  Unreleased.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB (LIVE) - (Buddy Guy) – Bonus track from the Texas Flood CD.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – LITTLE WING/3RD STONE FROM THE SUN (LIVE) – (Jimi Hendrix) - From the 1999 reissue of Soul to Soul, the third studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released September 30, 1985

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Stevie Ray Vaughan w/ BB King, Albert King, and Paul Butterfield – THE SKY IS CRYING (LIVE) – (Elmore James) - "The Sky Is Crying" was written and recorded by Elmore James in 1959. Called "one of his most durable compositions", "The Sky Is Crying" became an R&B record chart hit and has been interpreted and recorded by numerous artists.  This version was recorded live at the Ebony Showcase Theater, Los Angeles, California on April 15, 1987.  Unreleased.

Vaughan Brothers – TELEPHONE SONG – (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall) -- From Family Style, a blues-rock album by the Vaughan Brothers, released September 25, 1990. The album features the brethren guitarists and vocalists, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, in their only studio collaboration. In his early years, Stevie Ray Vaughan often remarked that he would like to do an album with his brother. He fulfilled that wish in his very last studio performance, which was released nearly a month after his death. The liner notes end with "Thanks Mama V. for letting us play."