Artist: Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
Album: The Complete Epic Recordings Collection
Release Date: 10/27/2014
Arguably there have been other guitar gods in his wake, but none have left the emblazoned riff across the skies of our consciousness like Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the twelve discs of The Complete Recordings are gospel proof of that.
Few debut albums of any decade blew the house down like Texas Flood in 1983. SRV & Double Trouble were fully formed and fully realized; all piss ‘n vinegar ‘n ready to take anyone head on. 1984’s Couldn’t Stand the Weather was the knockout punch just in case you had the balls to get up off the mat. In 1985, Vaughn expanded the heartbeat of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton with keyboardist Reese Wynans and Joe Sublett on sax, but Soul to Soul remains a mixed, if still impassioned recording. Live Alive is a brilliantly brutal statement, leading to his career pinnacle, ‘89’s In Step, still as vital as when it was released, just over a year before his final notes.
Several of the live discs included have held vaunted positions in my bootleg collection, but the clarity and their impact, then as now, is fervent, potent, mind altering. On CD for the first time, Live at The El Mocambo is a whirlwind force of nature, as is the Live At Montreux ’82 & ’85. The double disc Archives mostly features blitzkrieg bonus tracks from previously released expanded reissues. Make no mistake, these Complete Recordings are truly the heart and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughn.
– Mike Jurkovic