on 12 January 2000
If you're already a Stevie Ray Vaughan fan then this album will give you all the masterful control of his instrument plus live atmosphere too. The songs will be familiar if you know the four studio albums (recently re-released on Legacy with bonus tracks and highly recommended), and Stevie shows here how he can really do it live. One of my favourite SRV albums.
on 11 May 2009
I first purchased this album on 'proper' vinyl in the late 80's. I had been an avid Jimi Hendrix fan as a student and I had heard that Stevie was 'the white Hendrix'...So I hurriedly went out and spent my hard earnt cash. I wasn't disappointed, this boy could play!
I think I only had the album for a few months and loved so much that I lent it to a friend who promptly stole it.
Leap forward about 18 years and I had the opportunity to add it to my collection again...Surely it can't be as good as I remember.You know how it is, when you recall old memories, things always seem better than they actually were (summers were longer, beer tasted better and petrol was cheap!!). Well, there is always one exception that proves the rule. This album is monumental! From the moment you hear the first licks of his guitar, to the end of the last track, you feel that you have been on a rollercoaster ride. The effortless way Stevie and Double Trouble can play with your emotions is a rare gift. I can never listen to 'Ain't Gonna Give Up On Love' without the raw, spine tingling guitar solo grabbing me; The power of 'Voodoo Chile' slapping me in the face; the laid back mellow blues of 'Texas Flood'; the cheeky 'Mary had a Little Lamb' and the funky 'Superstition' that begs for your attention.
I have heard many albums that I can say have enduced one, possibly two emotions from me... But the wonder of what the boys have done with this live album beggers belief.
What a shame one of the best blues guitarists is no longer with us. I am afraid that it will be another lifetime before we ever have a talent of his like again.
If you have already purchased this album, then you are that much richer for doing so... If you haven't...You've missed a treat!!!
The late Stevie Ray Vaughan rocked on stage. His rendition of Howlin' Wolf's "Commit A Crime" may lack the raw punch of Wolf's original, but that's a minor complaint...most of this album is simply excellent, filled with gems from Vaughan's first three albums.
Stevie Ray's muscular and versatile guitar playing is sublime, with more grit than most of his studio orginals. His vocals are good, too, and the song list is magnificent, featuring the rare, non-LP track "Willie the Wimp" about the bizarre 1984 funeral of a Chicago "wiseguy".
Other highlights include Vaughan's best song, the superbly groovy "Pride And Joy", as well as "Look At Little Sister", "Cold Shot", "Love Struck Baby" and the slow blues "Texas Flood" and "Ain't Gone 'N' Give Up On Love", but there are really no weak songs, and this album should appeal to fans of both blues and rock music.
The sound is good, although not always crystal clear, and the band is excellent. Several songs actually sound better in this live setting than on the original studio albums, partly because of the blistering blues-rock arrangements which include keyboards (piano and organ).
Apparently some people feel that Vaughan's playing wasn't up to his usual standards when this album was recorded, that he must have been having a bad night or something. I've heard a lot of live SRV, and I can't make any sense of that claim, especially since "Live Alive" wasn't recorded during just one show, but actually incorporates cuts from different concerts in both 1985 and 1986. He must have been having some bad years, then, and this myopic claim sounds particularly absurd when it is brought forward by people who then go on to praise Stevie's "Live At Montreux" album. Several of these performances are from, yes, you guessed it, the very same 1985 Montreux performance.
Contrary to what some people have apparently heard and chosen to believe, this is a very enjoyable, soulful live album, and it is highly recommendable to anyone with an interest in Stevie Ray Vaughan, or contemporary blues and blues-rock in general.
on 8 January 2001
One of the favourite sons of Texas, this album captures SRV at his best - whether playing full on Texas boogie, slow blues, or his excellent reading of Hendrix's Voodoo Chile. This is, in my opinion, a better live album than the Carnegie Hall set (still worth a listen, though), with Willie the Wimp being one of my personal favourites. A true loss to the music world...
on 2 January 2004
I just wanted to add to this review that I am a huge SRV fan. It was just such a shame that the one thing he did so well - playing live - is represented so poorly on CD (or LP etc.). I would highly recommend getting one of the videos/DVDs if you want the live feel. Live At The El Mocambo is fantastic. So:
Does this really qualify as a live album when much of it was overdubbed whilst on the road? Consequently it sounds fragmented and, at times, awkward.
I was disappointed.