Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

JIMMIE VAUGHAN

PLAYS MORE BLUES, BALLADS & FAVORITES

2011-09-15

The story is well known by now. Guitarist Jimmie Vaughan toiled in the blues trenches for years with the Fabulous Thunderbirds and finally got a taste of national fame in the MTV era with such rock oriented hits as "Tuff Enuff", "Wrap it Up" and "Look At That". He then saw younger brother Stevie Ray grab the fame comet that took him to the top of both the blues and rock worlds only to die tragically in 1990 after Jimmie had left the Thunderbirds and the two had collaborated on "Family Style". Stevie’s death put Jimmie into a several year commercial no-man’s land as the T-Birds were no longer home for him and his roots oriented guitar style didn’t have the wide spread commercial appeal of his brother’s much harder rocking chart toppers. He persevered though and continued to bear the torch of the raw, classic blues, country and R &B that had marked his earlier work with the T-Birds. The last few years have seen him paying homage to Jimmy Reed, "On the Jimmy Reed Highway", and to the tunes on which he cut his teeth, "Plays Blues, Ballad & Favorites". This disc finds him dipping into the same well. With cuts by Jimmy Liggins, "Teardrop Blues", Gene Autry, "I Hang My Head and Cry", Huey Meaux, "Breaking Up is Hard To Do" and "The Rains Came", Jimmy Reed, "I’m a Love You", and a host of others, this disc showcases Vaughan’s uncanny ability to take a large band (bass, drums, two guitars and a pair of horns) and distill the sound down to little more than grease and grit. A closer listen though reveals a lot going on as Vaughan exchanges instrumental jabs with the rest of the band. With spare leads and fills around the groove Vaughan, who never overplays, aims all of the cuts at that primal spot that has to move with the music. As a result, even though a number of the cuts tend to lope along without much urgency, they all satisfy. Even though Vaughan will never earn much of his supper as a singer, his vocals are serviceable and he gets a boost on three of the cuts from fellow Texan, Lou Ann Barton. Overall, no new frontiers discovered here. And that’s the point. SMITTY

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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