Stevie Ray Vaughan's fourth album saw him emerging healthy, happy and cleaned up of the worst drug and booze fuelled excesses of his rock 'n' roll adolescence. Of course there are good and bad things, from a rock icon's perspective (and his fans'), about growing up. In Step is the record of a man getting comfortable with himself and his achievements, with all the positive and negative connotations that brings.
At this point the argument "Can white men play the blues?" has been won hands down, Stevie Ray Vaughan sounds like a man who knows it - his guitar tone is by turns rich and beautiful (Riviera Paradise) fulsome and commanding (Travis Walk; Wall of Denial) and cheeky (Cross-Fire) but never genuinely throaty or bitching, as it is for the duration of Texas Flood, Couldn't Stand The Weather and the celebrated early live sets (it is my considered view, for instance, that everyone on this planet should be afforded the opportunity to see Stevie Ray Vaughan Live at the El Mocambo).
Indeed, at times SRV's famous Stratocaster, Number One, sounds positively compressed - odd for a man for whom fingers, strings and tubes were some sort of holy trinity, and digital processing more akin to an angel cast from the firmament.
For its part, Double Trouble is on song, and beautifully recorded - and as a pop record this is certainly Stevie Ray's most accessible entry, but if you're a raw blues tone freak like me, you may find it somewhat uninvolving.
Make no mistake: this is a great record, and worthy of sitting in any collection, but for my money Stevie Ray Vaughan's first two albums mentioned above and the outstanding, posthumously released, The Sky Is Crying are better ways of remembering the man who famously said:
"Tune low, play hard, and floor it. That's technical talk."