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Stevie Ray and the reinvention of real Texas Blues...
on 24 April 2005
I can imagine what it must have been like for David Bowie, Jackson Browne, and the Montreux audience to see this virtuoso man play the fastest and most distinctive blues to be heard since Hendrix and Albert King.
I can imagine what it must have been like to have the radio on in the car on a grimy, muddy Monday morning, crammed with a thousand other cars into the clogged dual-carriage way, and hear, from nowhere, the wailing, jamming, flickering fingers of real Texas blues.
Stevie Ray Vaughan seemingly came from nowhere and exploded onto the blues scene with both his Montreux performance and this album, Texas Flood.
It begins with one of the best straight-blues rockers ever recorded, Love Struck Baby, and then on to the slower, Pride And Joy, before the realisation of a true blues magician - Texas Flood. And it doesn't let up from there. Continuously astounding with a million different licks and skids that never tire on the ears, Stevie Ray really does make blues history with his debut album.
Okay, so there are a few drawbacks - the songwriting is constricted to purely within-the-genre blues, and the number of originals on the album is perhaps too sparse. But blues was never about songwriting like Rock was, or like folk became, it was ALWAYS purely about making real feeling through music. No other form of music is as expressive as the blues - classical tires with continual sentiment, and the emotions of jazz stop when it becomes nonsensical and non-musical.
Blues is true music and true feeling, without sugar-coated, soft-focus tears about moping over having a crap life, and instead having real tears, real honesty and a real life, however crap.
And Stevie Ray gave us this like no one had before and like no one will after. But don't give up, you can always play the blues, and if it doesn't have a place today, all the more reason to sing it.