Friday, December 28, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 80: Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble - Live Alive

Album - Live Alive
Artist - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
Key Players - Stevie Ray Vaughan - guitar and vocals, Tommy Shannon - bass, Chris "Whipper" Layton - drums, Reese Wynanas - keyboard.
Jimmy Vaughan appears on four tracks playing guitar and six string bass.

Produced By - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.

Release Date - November 15, 1986

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Sometimes you can be in the mood for this sort of rocking blues...guess it was time.

Overview - This live cd is culled from four live shows July 16, 1985 at the Montreux Jazz Festival, July 17th and 18th 1986 from Austin and July 19, 1986 in Dallas Texas. The cd itself had some clean up done in the studio so it doesn't flow as good as other live cds. For example,. there are noticeable pauses between tracks vs. a real "flow" feeling to it. Realizing the limitations of four various sources to be culled for a live show perhaps a re master of it would clean it up. Still its a decent snap shot of what was going on with the band at the time.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The listener is quickly given a dose what this collection of live cuts will hold as the disc opens with "Say What!". With no lyrics for the first 3:30 of the close to 5 minute track, the band is left to shine musically, and they all quickly show proficiency with their instruments. Each taking light, quick punchy solos. Granted the only real lyrics are chanting of "Soul to Soul", still the track lays impressive ground work. "Ain't Gone 'n' Give Up On Love" follows and the shimmer of keyboards lies under the shrill of Stevies guitar. Each note seems to ring out, and stand on its own. The lyrics are dark and moody and not until the latter part of the track does the guitar really get going. The track doesn't really move along at a blistering pace, but the playing is fierce. Utilizing the 12 bar blues standard riffs "Pride And Joy" rings out. One of the stand out tracks from his Texas Flood album the players, once more, prove that they don't have to break the mold of the 12 bar blues to shed some great riffs. This (like all the tracks) lets Stevie cut loose on a blistering solo that leaves the band scattered to keep up, but they do just fine. "Mary Had a Little Lamb" - there are two really great moments in this track in the later half where Stevie just has the pick hand going crazy. It is in the down load section for you to check out. "Superstition", the classic Stevie Wonder track, has the same bounce, but misses some of the crunch of the original. The keyboards replace the horn section but the version is tight and pretty true to the original, while still adding some Stevie and blues touches to the track. "I'm Leaving You (Commit a Crime)" - there is a lot of phase on Stevies guitar and there is more piano on this track than keyboards. "Cold Shot" follows. One of the early videos of Stevie comes screaming back to the brain. A blues man trying to play and the guitar being taken from him time and time again, only for him to pull yet another guitar out and keep going. "Willie the Wimp" opens with some light drum work before the band hunkers down. Between each sung line the band bears down and the song maintains that sort of same feel throughout. "Look at Little Sister" is perhaps one of the more widely known Stevie tracks. The band uses the 12 bar blues riffs and lets Stevie wash over the top. On this track you can hear more of the other guitar work from Jimmy Vaughan, it sort of chugs under it all as the the chime of Stevies guitar takes over. Per the norm the solo is what really shines. "Texas Flood" slows it down some. The guitar has a lot of emotion and the rest of the band, at the outset lets, as one would expect, the guitar to take the lead. Stevie treads on sacred ground to many when he tackles the Jimi Hendrix track "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)". He comes out with out too many bumps and bruises as even the harshest of Hendrix fans agree the cover is well done. "Love Struck Baby" maintains the same feel as other tracks, but for some reason this really has even more bounce to it. The piano work from Wynanas really stands out, with various slides and great fills. The first pass on the guitar solo is slightly muffled and not pulled up in the mix all that well, but it recovers to all of the Stevie glory. The album wraps up with "Change It", sort of standard fare for the record. Nothing earth shattering (at least to these ears).

Where are they now? Chris Layton has been busy with a series of projects and most recently has been the drummer for Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Tommy Shannon audition to replace Bill Wyman in the Rolling Stones. Double Trouble reformed in 2001 and Shannon has worked with a who's who of the rock and blues genre. Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash, following a show at the Alpine Music Theater in Wisconsin on August 26, 1990.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw Stevie Ray Vaughan live.

FDF Overall Take - For someone (like me) that knows very little about the blues, and it honestly sort of "ehh" on the genre as a whole this is a pretty easy record to listen to. It could be there are covers of Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix songs that even the most casual music fan would recognize. The band around this time was battling with drug and alcohol problems and later Stevie would comment it was not their best work. Again, as a casual fan the guitar playing is top notch, it has a pretty simple beat throughout so that doesn't make it too taxing a listen. Like virtually every cd in yours and my collection there is a time and place for certain cds. When the itch strikes you, this would be the perfect lotion for that itch.

Stevie Ray Vaughan fan club site here
Chris Layton on drummer world here
Tommy Shannon has an official site here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***mp3's have been removed 1/29/08 12:08 pm ET***
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Look at Little Sister

All tracks taken from Live Alive which you can buy

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 12:37 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Very nice. Well played.

Happy New Year.

At 9:07 PM, Blogger The Guinness Tooth said...

This is a great album, and the first SRV album I ever heard. My favorite has to be Blues as Sunrise. That album is just epic.


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