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Stevie Ray Vaughan|In Step

In Step

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

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Stevie Ray Vaughan had always been a phenomenal guitarist, but prior to In Step, his songwriting was hit or miss. Even when he wrote a classic modern blues song, it was firmly within the genre's conventions; only on Soul to Soul's exquisite soul-blues "Life Without You" did he attempt to stretch the boundaries of the form. As it turns out, that was the keynote for In Step, an album where Vaughan found his own songwriting voice, blending blues, soul, and rock in unique ways, and writing with startling emotional honesty. Yes, there are a few covers, all well chosen, but the heart of the album rests in the songs he co-wrote with Doyle Bramhall, the man who penned the Soul to Soul highlight "Change It." Bramhall proved to be an ideal collaborator for Vaughan; tunes like the terse "Tightrope" and the dense "Wall of Denial" feel so intensely personal, it's hard to believe that they weren't the product of just one man. Yet the lighter numbers -- the dynamite boogie "The House Is Rockin'" and the breakneck blues of "Scratch-n-Sniff" -- are just as effective as songs. Of course, he didn't need words to make effective music: "Travis Walk" is a blistering instrumental, complete with intricate fingerpicking reminiscent of the great country guitarist Merle Travis, while the shimmering "Riviera Paradise" is every bit as lyrical and lovely as his previous charmer, "Lenny." The magnificent thing about In Step is how it's fully realized, presenting every facet of Vaughan's musical personality, yet it still soars with a sense of discovery. It's a bittersweet triumph, given Vaughan's tragic death a little over a year after its release, yet it's a triumph all the same.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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In Step

Stevie Ray Vaughan

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1
The House Is Rockin'
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:02:24

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist - Doyle Bramhall, Composer, Lyricist - Gaines Jim, Producer - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - Reese Wynans, Keyboards

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Crossfire
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:04:10

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - B.Carter, Composer, Lyricist - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guitar - R. Wynans, Composer, Lyricist - C. Layton, Composer, Lyricist - Gaines Jim, Producer - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - R. Ellsworth-Carter, Composer, Lyricist - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - T. Shannon, Composer, Lyricist - Reese Wynans, Keyboards - Joe Sublett, Horn - Darrell Leonard, Horn

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Tightrope
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:04:40

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist - Doyle Bramhall, Composer, Lyricist - Gaines Jim, Producer - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - Reese Wynans, Keyboards

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Let Me Love You Baby
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:02:43

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guitar - Willie Dixon, Composer, Lyricist - Gaines Jim, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Producer - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - Richard Mullins, Engineer - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - Richard McKernen, Engineer - Evan Rush, Assistant Engineer - Reese Wynans, Keyboards - Danny Jones, Assistant Engineer - Bob Lacivita, Assistant Engineer - Jim Champagne, Assistant Engineer - Ryan Doran, Assistant Engineer - Dave McNair, Mixing Engineer - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Leave My Girl Alone
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:04:16

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - B. Guy, Composer, Lyricist - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guitar - Gaines Jim, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Producer - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - Richard Mullins, Engineer - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - Richard McKernen, Engineer - Evan Rush, Assistant Engineer - Reese Wynans, Keyboards - Danny Jones, Assistant Engineer - Bob Lacivita, Assistant Engineer - Jim Champagne, Assistant Engineer - Ryan Doran, Assistant Engineer - Dave McNair, Mixing Engineer - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Travis Walk
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:02:20

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - Gaines Jim, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Producer - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - Richard Mullins, Engineer - Richard McKernen, Engineer - Evan Rush, Assistant Engineer - Reese Wynans, Keyboards - Danny Jones, Assistant Engineer - Bob Lacivita, Assistant Engineer - Jim Champagne, Assistant Engineer - Ryan Doran, Assistant Engineer - Dave McNair, Mixing Engineer - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Wall of Denial
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:05:36

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist, Producer - Doyle Bramhall, Composer, Lyricist - Richard Mullen, Producer - Double Trouble, Producer - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - Bob Irwin, Producer - Gaines Jim, Executive Producer - Tony Martell, Executive Producer - Reese Wynans, Keyboards

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Scratch-N-Sniff
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:02:43

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - Gaines Jim, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Producer - Doyle Bramhall, Composer, Lyricist - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - Richard Mullins, Engineer - Richard McKernen, Engineer - Evan Rush, Assistant Engineer - Reese Wynans, Keyboards - Danny Jones, Assistant Engineer - Bob Lacivita, Assistant Engineer - Jim Champagne, Assistant Engineer - Ryan Doran, Assistant Engineer - Dave McNair, Mixing Engineer - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Love Me Darlin'
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:03:21

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Producer - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guitar - Chester Burnett, Composer, Lyricist - Gaines Jim, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Producer - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - Richard Mullins, Engineer - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - Richard McKernen, Engineer - Evan Rush, Assistant Engineer - Reese Wynans, Keyboards - Danny Jones, Assistant Engineer - Bob Lacivita, Assistant Engineer - Jim Champagne, Assistant Engineer - Ryan Doran, Assistant Engineer - Dave McNair, Mixing Engineer - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
Riviera Paradise
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
00:08:49

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Stevie Ray Vaughan, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist, Producer - Richard Mullen, Engineer, Producer - Double Trouble, Producer - TOMMY SHANNON, Bass Guitar - Chris "Whipper" Layton, Drums, Percussion - Bob Irwin, Producer - John Hammond, Executive Producer - Tony Martell, Executive Producer - Reese Wynans, Keyboards - Mark Proct - Gaines Jim, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Richard McKernen, Engineer - Evan Rush, Assistant Engineer - Danny Jones, Assistant Engineer - Bob Lacivita, Assistant Engineer - Jim Champagne, Assistant Engineer - Ryan Doran, Assistant Engineer - Dave McNair, Mixing Engineer - Vic Anesini, Mastering Engineer - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 1989 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album review

Stevie Ray Vaughan had always been a phenomenal guitarist, but prior to In Step, his songwriting was hit or miss. Even when he wrote a classic modern blues song, it was firmly within the genre's conventions; only on Soul to Soul's exquisite soul-blues "Life Without You" did he attempt to stretch the boundaries of the form. As it turns out, that was the keynote for In Step, an album where Vaughan found his own songwriting voice, blending blues, soul, and rock in unique ways, and writing with startling emotional honesty. Yes, there are a few covers, all well chosen, but the heart of the album rests in the songs he co-wrote with Doyle Bramhall, the man who penned the Soul to Soul highlight "Change It." Bramhall proved to be an ideal collaborator for Vaughan; tunes like the terse "Tightrope" and the dense "Wall of Denial" feel so intensely personal, it's hard to believe that they weren't the product of just one man. Yet the lighter numbers -- the dynamite boogie "The House Is Rockin'" and the breakneck blues of "Scratch-n-Sniff" -- are just as effective as songs. Of course, he didn't need words to make effective music: "Travis Walk" is a blistering instrumental, complete with intricate fingerpicking reminiscent of the great country guitarist Merle Travis, while the shimmering "Riviera Paradise" is every bit as lyrical and lovely as his previous charmer, "Lenny." The magnificent thing about In Step is how it's fully realized, presenting every facet of Vaughan's musical personality, yet it still soars with a sense of discovery. It's a bittersweet triumph, given Vaughan's tragic death a little over a year after its release, yet it's a triumph all the same.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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