Fiesta Red

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Posts
8,868
Location
Texas
I love Stevie Ray Vaughan.
His music.
His playing style.
His tone.
His singing voice.

The instruments and effects and amps he used has affected my instrument choices (along with a million other blues and rock players) down to this day.

His battered-Strat-and-black-bolero-cowboy-gypsy image—too often imitated, and never equaled—was a spectacular package to behold.

The background story of a less-handsome little brother living in the shadow of a often-dismissive and sometimes-contentious older sibling resonates greatly with me (personally)…add the ramshackle Oak Cliff childhood and status as an outsider in his own hometown, it becomes even more resonant to me.

His initial professional struggles and failures, followed by unexpected success in a landscape of synths, drum machines and hairspray makes me smile.

The fact that he told an established superstar (David Bowie), “Thanks but no thanks, I got my own thang to do…” when it could have led to a lot of professional exposure just oozes Texas Swagger (which I love).

The fact that his ground-breaking first album was recorded in just a couple of days of studio time borrowed from another superstar (Jackson Browne), along with the tickling of my Guitar Nerddom because those studio session led to SRV discovering a rare and iconic amplifier (Dumble), which shaped his sound even further.

The story arc of alcohol and drug abuse, hitting rock bottom, then redemption through rehab, then making two more (spectacular) albums while sober, overcoming his fear of playing without some chemical help/enhancement is inspiring.

The similar and related aspect of a toxic and occasionally abusive marriage, which fell apart and was followed by a meet-cute story of literally seeing a girl on the side of the road in a foreign country and stopping to introduce himself, is a dramatic rom-com in the making.

The fact that the second album of his sober life was two full-circle moments (reuniting with Nile Rogers, who was instrumental in Stevie’s first professional success on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and—probably more importantly—the first full album of playing with his big brother) deepens the tragedy and inspiration—the romance, if you will.

His untimely death, when on the brink of…well, who knows what…is tragic and painful for fans of his music as well as his bandmates and friends.

Even the melodrama of his backing band moving forward with (first) the Arc Angels and (second) Storyville, with episodes of playing with multiple guitarslingers (Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, etc) littered along the way is interesting and melancholic.

I don’t know why Hollywood hasn’t snapped up the rights to make this into a movie. The entire story is as cinematic as award-winning biopics like The Buddy Holly Story, La Bamba (Ritchie Valens), Ray (Ray Charles) or Walk The Line (Johnny Cash).

Jimmie’s quote sums it up pretty good:

“The world misses his music, but I miss my brother.”

Not to diminish Jimmie’s relationship with Stevie or his pain, but a lot of people feel the same way, myself included.

Having said all that, there is a second aspect to Stevie’s death that I think goes just as deep and has affected the music (blues) I love so much.

Stevie’s death was a severe blow to the music world, but more so to the blues world in particular. He led the charge, the revolution, the resurrection of Blues music as a viable and profitable product in the 1980’s. His success led to wider recognition for artists who’d been around and playing music for a long time—folks like Robert Cray, whose smoother delivery and sweeter sound belied his ability to *Bring It* when the time came, and his brother’s band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds—who’d already made four of the finest blues albums in history, yet been released and relegated by their label because mainstream success eluded them. The attention given to Stevie led to attention being given to Jimmie and Kim Wilson, who were given another chance, and delivered in spades throughout the rest of the decade.

The whole Austin Blues scene—centered especially around Clifford Antone’s namesake club—was already firmly established by 1983, when “Texas Flood” was released…but the success of the disc brought more national, and eventually international attention to the scene. It grew exponentially, but still seemed to stay true to its roots. Clifford’s habit of mixing new young blood with old legendary players (like putting the T-Birds behind Muddy Waters, putting Stevie onstage with Albert King and later, dropping Sue Foley off to play with Buddy Guy and Albert Collins) continued to foster new growth while strengthening old roots, to great results. The Texas Blues scene became so dominant that a mainstream movie set in Chicago (Adventures in Babysitting), used a Texas Blues guy (Albert Collins) for an important scene, instead of drawing from the local Chicago talent that was undoubtedly available.

The Dallas and Fort Worth blues scenes (close in geography but distant in style and personnel) grew greatly as well; Houston’s pre-existing scene benefitted along the way.

Blues had a scene that could be a worldwide focal point. All was good.

However, there’s some evidence that the whole thing started crumbling when Stevie died.

Just like an old tree doesn’t die just because a limb or two cracks, it wasn’t an immediate collapse. There was great blues and blues-based music made—in Texas and elsewhere—after Stevie’s death (and there still is).

The first big problem was that a lot of people decided that somebody—anybody—needed to fill Stevie’s boots…and the second big problem was that a lot of guitarists tried.

I’m not criticizing the Vaughan-a-bees for their musicianship. Anybody that can reasonably cop SRV’s licks obviously has some talent, aptitude and ability on guitar. But by copying him note-for-note, lick-by-lick and tone-for-tone, those copyists are missing what made Stevie so revolutionary.

Stevie Vaughan copied, borrowed and stole from everybody (as all good musicians do), not just a singular source. He could have made a (reasonable) career just copying Hendrix (like Ernie Isley and Robin Trower and Lance Lopez have done)…he also sounded so much like Albert King that Nile Rogers told David Bowie, “Man, I didn’t know you wanted that on your album—if I’d known, we could have called Albert himself!” (I’m paraphrasing, don’t @me).

But Stevie wisely took a plank or a brick or a shingle from each of his heroes’ homes and made his own castle.

Listening to an album you’d hear traces of Lonnie Mack or Buddy Guy or Hubert Sumlin or Kenny Burrell or Otis Rush or Howlin’ Wolf or the aforementioned Albert King and Jimi Hendrix—or a dozen other influences…but he also sounded exactly like himself, like all those flavors were being blended up in that beat-up Strat and spewed out through a pair of Vibroverbs.

His music was impactful because it sounded familiar, but it also sounded fresh.

He was embraced by his forebears and old-time blues fans was because they could hear his respect for and homages to themselves and their peers.

He was embraced by newer blues enthusiasts because it wasn’t a fourth-generation rehash of what they’d been listening to all their lives.

Stevie sounded like old blues, but with a second gear.

But nowadays, when I hear “Latest Vaughnabee X” I think, “Not bad…now show me your second gear.”

Some have grown into it—they started out with him as a major (or even singular) influence, and matured as a musician to where his influence is still heard, but has become a piece of the puzzle rather than the whole picture.

Some have never grown beyond it, and seemingly never will. They’re not just stuck in first gear, some have put the car in park and they’re just idling.

The problem this phenomenon (“finding/becoming the next SRV”) created is that blues and blues/rock stagnated for 20 years. There was little or no growth, overall, and a large number of marginal blues fans have grown tired of the genre…and since the money isn’t made on the hard-core fans, but rather the (larger) mainstream demographic, festivals, clubs and even regional scenes have shrunk, suffered or died.

The hardcore fans (such as me) are still there; I’ve branched out and explored sub-genres that I was aware of but not well-versed in (North Mississippi Hill Country Blues artists such as Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside, as well as their acolytes such the North Mississippi All-Stars and The Black Keys). Artists such as Eve Monsees and Mike Flanigan have come into their own, and I’ve also continued to follow the folks who were around during Stevie’s lifetime—Derek O’Brien, Lou Ann Barton, the recently deceased Denney Freeman, Sue Foley, and of course, big brother Jimmie.

But I love the style and the art form, going as far back as Bessie Smith and Sylvester Weaver and on through Robert Johnson and Son House and Charley Patton and on through Muddy and Wolf and BB and…you get the point. I love blues, and I’ll keep listening to it.

So what is needed?

Well, in a way we need what we’ve been searching for—another Stevie Ray Vaughan…

No, not yet another person who plays like him, but a player who combines all the cool elements of their forebears and puts out a different-but-familiar sound that’s enjoyable across the board.

I was hoping it would be Gary Clark, Jr and Eve Monsees.

Mr. Clark has done a lot, and received a lot of mainstream attention, but his influence hasn’t become as wide-spread as SRV’s was…

I love the fact that Mr. Clark has re-opened Antone’s nightclub and Mrs. Monsees-Buck (yes, she married the Fabulous Thunderbirds’s original drummer, Mike Buck) is now proprietor of Antone’s Record Shop, but their musical influence is far from the mainstream, in total.

Blues needs a new revolution, a new scene, a new explosion…and us blues fans need it now!
 

uriah1

Telefied
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Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Posts
27,054
Location
Around
Agreed. Stevie brought back the dying blues. In todays market I am not sure a solo act can do that again. There
are a few hot guitarist that everyone on this site know but not the rest of the world that is a shame. Perhaps if an avengers movie adds a blues player we might be back in business.
 

boris bubbanov

Tele Axpert
Ad Free Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2007
Posts
56,155
Location
New Orleans, LA + in the
To those of you in serious need of a fresh infusion, may I suggest Kingfish Ingram?

He's got some of this swagger. I get the right feeling, when I listen.

Meanwhile, keep listening to Mr. Robert Cray. I love the way I discover something new, every additional time I see him. This is what repeat live performances are all about IMO.
 

joe.attaboy

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Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Posts
193
Age
67
Location
Fleming Island, Florida
All well said.

You alluded to a biography movie of SRV's life story. The only problem with making a bio-type film (as opposed to a documentary) is the question of who would play SRV.

On occasion, an actor comes along and does a pretty job playing a music legend in a film. I think of Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn (great) and to a lesser extent, Beverly D'Angelo's costar role in that film as Patsy. Jessica Lange in that same role was...ok (why they didn't cast D'Angelo in that film...she even did her own singing in the Spacek film and she was pretty great). Forrest Whittaker as Charlie Parker...ok. And so on...

My fear is that people are so passionate about SRV that anything less than the man coming back to life to play himself would be a major disappointment.

IMHO.
 

clayville

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Posts
405
Location
Boston
Those of us haunting the Chicago blues clubs in the 70s and 80s might quibble with the Texas-centric perspective here. Though many of the post-war Chicago greats are dead now, they weren't then - and packed clubs all over town every night of the week.

Agree SRV was a huge boon to the national Blues scene and to those faithfully carrying the blues torch in all its various flavors - and a huge loss as a result. But, another quibble: for my personal taste, I'd rather see more contemporary folks downshift into slower and more emotive playing than find a fifth or sixth gear of speedy wankery. I know I sound like the guy from the "Amadeus" movie, but sometimes I want to shout "Too many notes!" at some of the current and up-and-coming generation of prominent blues players... I'd much rather hear someone tell a story with three notes than say almost nothing with thirty.
 
Last edited:

HaWE

Tele-Meister
Joined
Oct 3, 2015
Posts
177
Location
Germany, somewhere from the countryside
Hmmm.... maybe nowadays blues in general has lost something.In the beginning blues was a way to express feelings - played by black people for black people.I think adopting the blues in the 60s by white musicians ( for example John Mayalls Bluesbreakers , Fleetwood Mac, Paul Butterfield and so on ) caused the birth of many "guitar-heroes" like Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Michael Bloomfield, and later Johny Winter,Alvin Lee, Rory Gallagher and so on.It was a new exiting style of playing the blues,often based on the skills of that guitar players.And this music was played on radio and was very popular.
But unfortunately times have changed - today you do not hear blues on the radio.And how often do you hear a guitar-solo on the radio ? And if so, no one will even care.Its all about rap, hiphop and pop.Even if there would be a new Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton ( or Steve Ray Vaughan) I think most people will just not notice that.Don`t get me wrong, I am not happy to say that , but I think nowadys most people just would not be interested in blues (except a group of fans including me ).
 

String Tree

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Posts
18,144
Location
Up North
I love Stevie Ray Vaughan.
His music.
His playing style.
His tone.
His singing voice.

The instruments and effects and amps he used has affected my instrument choices (along with a million other blues and rock players) down to this day.

His battered-Strat-and-black-bolero-cowboy-gypsy image—too often imitated, and never equaled—was a spectacular package to behold.

The background story of a less-handsome little brother living in the shadow of a often-dismissive and sometimes-contentious older sibling resonates greatly with me (personally)…add the ramshackle Oak Cliff childhood and status as an outsider in his own hometown, it becomes even more resonant to me.

His initial professional struggles and failures, followed by unexpected success in a landscape of synths, drum machines and hairspray makes me smile.

The fact that he told an established superstar (David Bowie), “Thanks but no thanks, I got my own thang to do…” when it could have led to a lot of professional exposure just oozes Texas Swagger (which I love).

The fact that his ground-breaking first album was recorded in just a couple of days of studio time borrowed from another superstar (Jackson Browne), along with the tickling of my Guitar Nerddom because those studio session led to SRV discovering a rare and iconic amplifier (Dumble), which shaped his sound even further.

The story arc of alcohol and drug abuse, hitting rock bottom, then redemption through rehab, then making two more (spectacular) albums while sober, overcoming his fear of playing without some chemical help/enhancement is inspiring.

The similar and related aspect of a toxic and occasionally abusive marriage, which fell apart and was followed by a meet-cute story of literally seeing a girl on the side of the road in a foreign country and stopping to introduce himself, is a dramatic rom-com in the making.

The fact that the second album of his sober life was two full-circle moments (reuniting with Nile Rogers, who was instrumental in Stevie’s first professional success on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and—probably more importantly—the first full album of playing with his big brother) deepens the tragedy and inspiration—the romance, if you will.

His untimely death, when on the brink of…well, who knows what…is tragic and painful for fans of his music as well as his bandmates and friends.

Even the melodrama of his backing band moving forward with (first) the Arc Angels and (second) Storyville, with episodes of playing with multiple guitarslingers (Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, etc) littered along the way is interesting and melancholic.

I don’t know why Hollywood hasn’t snapped up the rights to make this into a movie. The entire story is as cinematic as award-winning biopics like The Buddy Holly Story, La Bamba (Ritchie Valens), Ray (Ray Charles) or Walk The Line (Johnny Cash).

Jimmie’s quote sums it up pretty good:

“The world misses his music, but I miss my brother.”

Not to diminish Jimmie’s relationship with Stevie or his pain, but a lot of people feel the same way, myself included.

Having said all that, there is a second aspect to Stevie’s death that I think goes just as deep and has affected the music (blues) I love so much.

Stevie’s death was a severe blow to the music world, but more so to the blues world in particular. He led the charge, the revolution, the resurrection of Blues music as a viable and profitable product in the 1980’s. His success led to wider recognition for artists who’d been around and playing music for a long time—folks like Robert Cray, whose smoother delivery and sweeter sound belied his ability to *Bring It* when the time came, and his brother’s band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds—who’d already made four of the finest blues albums in history, yet been released and relegated by their label because mainstream success eluded them. The attention given to Stevie led to attention being given to Jimmie and Kim Wilson, who were given another chance, and delivered in spades throughout the rest of the decade.

The whole Austin Blues scene—centered especially around Clifford Antone’s namesake club—was already firmly established by 1983, when “Texas Flood” was released…but the success of the disc brought more national, and eventually international attention to the scene. It grew exponentially, but still seemed to stay true to its roots. Clifford’s habit of mixing new young blood with old legendary players (like putting the T-Birds behind Muddy Waters, putting Stevie onstage with Albert King and later, dropping Sue Foley off to play with Buddy Guy and Albert Collins) continued to foster new growth while strengthening old roots, to great results. The Texas Blues scene became so dominant that a mainstream movie set in Chicago (Adventures in Babysitting), used a Texas Blues guy (Albert Collins) for an important scene, instead of drawing from the local Chicago talent that was undoubtedly available.

The Dallas and Fort Worth blues scenes (close in geography but distant in style and personnel) grew greatly as well; Houston’s pre-existing scene benefitted along the way.

Blues had a scene that could be a worldwide focal point. All was good.

However, there’s some evidence that the whole thing started crumbling when Stevie died.

Just like an old tree doesn’t die just because a limb or two cracks, it wasn’t an immediate collapse. There was great blues and blues-based music made—in Texas and elsewhere—after Stevie’s death (and there still is).

The first big problem was that a lot of people decided that somebody—anybody—needed to fill Stevie’s boots…and the second big problem was that a lot of guitarists tried.

I’m not criticizing the Vaughan-a-bees for their musicianship. Anybody that can reasonably cop SRV’s licks obviously has some talent, aptitude and ability on guitar. But by copying him note-for-note, lick-by-lick and tone-for-tone, those copyists are missing what made Stevie so revolutionary.

Stevie Vaughan copied, borrowed and stole from everybody (as all good musicians do), not just a singular source. He could have made a (reasonable) career just copying Hendrix (like Ernie Isley and Robin Trower and Lance Lopez have done)…he also sounded so much like Albert King that Nile Rogers told David Bowie, “Man, I didn’t know you wanted that on your album—if I’d known, we could have called Albert himself!” (I’m paraphrasing, don’t @me).

But Stevie wisely took a plank or a brick or a shingle from each of his heroes’ homes and made his own castle.

Listening to an album you’d hear traces of Lonnie Mack or Buddy Guy or Hubert Sumlin or Kenny Burrell or Otis Rush or Howlin’ Wolf or the aforementioned Albert King and Jimi Hendrix—or a dozen other influences…but he also sounded exactly like himself, like all those flavors were being blended up in that beat-up Strat and spewed out through a pair of Vibroverbs.

His music was impactful because it sounded familiar, but it also sounded fresh.

He was embraced by his forebears and old-time blues fans was because they could hear his respect for and homages to themselves and their peers.

He was embraced by newer blues enthusiasts because it wasn’t a fourth-generation rehash of what they’d been listening to all their lives.

Stevie sounded like old blues, but with a second gear.

But nowadays, when I hear “Latest Vaughnabee X” I think, “Not bad…now show me your second gear.”

Some have grown into it—they started out with him as a major (or even singular) influence, and matured as a musician to where his influence is still heard, but has become a piece of the puzzle rather than the whole picture.

Some have never grown beyond it, and seemingly never will. They’re not just stuck in first gear, some have put the car in park and they’re just idling.

The problem this phenomenon (“finding/becoming the next SRV”) created is that blues and blues/rock stagnated for 20 years. There was little or no growth, overall, and a large number of marginal blues fans have grown tired of the genre…and since the money isn’t made on the hard-core fans, but rather the (larger) mainstream demographic, festivals, clubs and even regional scenes have shrunk, suffered or died.

The hardcore fans (such as me) are still there; I’ve branched out and explored sub-genres that I was aware of but not well-versed in (North Mississippi Hill Country Blues artists such as Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside, as well as their acolytes such the North Mississippi All-Stars and The Black Keys). Artists such as Eve Monsees and Mike Flanigan have come into their own, and I’ve also continued to follow the folks who were around during Stevie’s lifetime—Derek O’Brien, Lou Ann Barton, the recently deceased Denney Freeman, Sue Foley, and of course, big brother Jimmie.

But I love the style and the art form, going as far back as Bessie Smith and Sylvester Weaver and on through Robert Johnson and Son House and Charley Patton and on through Muddy and Wolf and BB and…you get the point. I love blues, and I’ll keep listening to it.

So what is needed?

Well, in a way we need what we’ve been searching for—another Stevie Ray Vaughan…

No, not yet another person who plays like him, but a player who combines all the cool elements of their forebears and puts out a different-but-familiar sound that’s enjoyable across the board.

I was hoping it would be Gary Clark, Jr and Eve Monsees.

Mr. Clark has done a lot, and received a lot of mainstream attention, but his influence hasn’t become as wide-spread as SRV’s was…

I love the fact that Mr. Clark has re-opened Antone’s nightclub and Mrs. Monsees-Buck (yes, she married the Fabulous Thunderbirds’s original drummer, Mike Buck) is now proprietor of Antone’s Record Shop, but their musical influence is far from the mainstream, in total.

Blues needs a new revolution, a new scene, a new explosion…and us blues fans need it now!
SRV was an Innovator.

The Man did his work and, he did it well.
Let him rest.
Let the rest of us keep up the Good Work.

~ST
 

nvilletele

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jul 4, 2008
Posts
3,769
Location
California
There was something (extra) special about Stevie, no doubt. He played with incredible joy, and love. It comes through in his live performances, or at least the ones I recall best.

What Blues needs . . . is for folks to keep playing it, adding their own feelings to that which has come before.
 

noname_dragon

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Posts
806
Location
North east coast
SRV was a firebrand and amazing, no doubt.
Blues is like lasagna... You can change up the ingredients endlessly, but it's still lasagna. Blues is based around a well worn primitive structure, stylistically and lyrically. It's going to take an extreme new voice of some kind to break thru the limits and push it somewhere new. Don't get me wrong, I love blues for a few songs and a few solos, but then I want something else. I love lasagna too, but not every day.
 

Fiesta Red

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Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Posts
8,868
Location
Texas
Gotta love a bit of Kingfish…. Those fat fingers sure move fast! Great tone too
Young Mr. Ingram has some massive talent, and I’ve perused/appreciate quite a bit of his work…however…
for my personal taste, I'd rather see more contemporary folks downshift into slower and more emotive playing than find a fifth or sixth gear of speedy wankery. I know I sound like the guy from the "Amadeus" movie, but sometimes I want to shout "Too many notes!" at some of the current and up-and-coming generation of prominent blues players... I'd much rather hear someone tell a story with three notes than say almost nothing with thirty.
^What he said.

Kingfish wears me out within three songs.
 

Fiesta Red

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Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Posts
8,868
Location
Texas
I’ve been listening to a lot more female-oriented blues the past couple of years—both established artists like Lou Ann Barton and Sue Foley as well as younger/newer artists like the Lovell sisters (Larkin Poe). They seem to understand the balance between “economy of notes” and “emotion”…
 




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