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Blues - Released June 6, 1989 | Epic

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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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Blues - Released January 25, 2013 | Epic - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Blues - Released January 29, 2013 | Epic - Legacy

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Blues - Released January 29, 2013 | Epic - Legacy

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Blues - Released August 27, 2002 | Epic - Legacy

Epic's The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble gathers two discs' worth of the late blues guitarist's work, including many live performances and a few tracks with the Vaughan Brothers. The collection presents Vaughan's material in roughly chronological order, from the 1980 live recording "Shake for Me" to 1989's "Life by the Drop." It also touches on most of Vaughan's definitive songs and performances, including "Tightrope," "Wall of Denial," "Couldn't Stand the Weather," and "Cold Shot," and live versions of "The Sky Is Crying," "Superstition," and "Rude Mood/Hide Away." Though this album doesn't offer anything that hasn't already been released in some form or another, it does go into slightly more depth than several of the other Stevie Ray Vaughan retrospectives by presenting both his greatest studio hits and some of his best live work. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Blues - Released November 5, 1991 | Epic

The posthumously assembled ten-track outtakes collection The Sky Is Crying actually proves to be one of Stevie Ray Vaughan's most consistent albums, rivaling In Step as the best outside of the Greatest Hits collection. These songs were recorded in sessions spanning from 1984's Couldn't Stand the Weather to 1989's In Step and were left off of the LPs for whatever reason (or, in the case of Soul to Soul's "Empty Arms," a different version was used). What makes the record work is its eclectic diversity -- Vaughan plays slide guitar on "Boot Hill" and acoustic on "Life by the Drop"; he smokes on the slow blues of "May I Have a Talk With You" and the title track just as much as on the up-tempo Lonnie Mack cover, "Wham"; and he shows the jazzy side of his playing on Hendrix's "Little Wing" and Kenny Burrell's "Chitlins Con Carne." But it's not just musical diversity that makes the record work, it's also Vaughan's emotional range. From the morbidly dark "Boot Hill" to the lilting "Little Wing" to the exuberant tributes to his influences -- Lonnie Mack on "Wham" and Albert King on "The Sky Is Crying" -- Vaughan makes the material resonate, and in light of his death, "The Sky Is Crying" and the touching survivor-story ballad "Life by the Drop" are two of the most moving moments in Vaughan's oeuvre. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Blues - Released September 30, 1985 | Sony Music Media

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By adding two members to Double Trouble -- keyboardist Reese Wynans and saxophonist Joe Sublett -- Stevie Ray Vaughan indicated he wanted to add soul and R&B inflections to his basic blues sound, and Soul to Soul does exactly that. It's still a modern blues album, yet it has a wider sonic palette, finding Vaughan fusing a variety of blues, rock, and R&B styles. Most of this is done through covers -- notably Hank Ballard's "Look at Little Sister," the exquisitely jazzy "Gone Home," and Doyle Bramhall's impassioned soul-blues "Change It" -- but Vaughan's songwriting occasionally follows suit, as well. Even if only the tortured blues wailer "Ain't Gone 'n' Give Up on Love" entered his acknowledged canon, he throws in some delightful soul-funk touches on "Say What!," the instrumental wah-wah workout that kicks off the album, and the Curtis Mayfield-inspired closer, "Life Without You," captures Vaughan at his best as a composer and performer. It's such a seductive number -- such a full realization of his soul-blues ambitions -- that the rest of the album pales in comparison. In fact, for all of its positive attributes, Soul to Soul winds up being less than the sum of its parts, and it's hard to pinpoint an exact reason why. Perhaps it was because Vaughan was on the verge of a horrible battle with substance abuse at the time of recording or perhaps it just has that unevenness inherent in transitional albums. Still, he has good taste in covers, his originals are sturdy, and there's not a bad performance here, so Soul to Soul winds up enjoyable in spite of its flaws, and it clearly points the way to his 1989 masterpiece, In Step. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Blues - Released September 19, 2001 | Epic - Legacy

Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985 is a historically significant recording, presenting Stevie Ray Vaughan in the biggest show of his life to that date, then three years later, once he had become a star. The 1982 show is essentially the show that got his career started. He met both Jackson Browne and David Bowie after his set, and they were so impressed that Browne volunteered use of his studio (for free!) for Stevie to record what would become his debut album, and Bowie recruited him as lead guitarist for the Let's Dance album and tour (alas, the tour was not to be). However, not everyone was so impressed. In fact, there are choruses of boos that follow nearly every tune. Vaughan was basically a nobody at the time, playing very electric blues at the end of a mostly acoustic program. But he had done enough bar gigs to completely rise above it, and he plays with the passion and hunger of a young musician getting his big chance. He's not really an engaging frontman at this point in his career, but man, can he play that guitar. And he simply never lets up. Even at this stage, his tone and style are pretty close to fully formed, and it's easy to see how he could become the guitar hero he ended up being. The 1985 show is quite a contrast. Vaughan had become a star, and it shows in so many ways. He had developed more of a stage persona, with showier moves and infinitely more presence as a frontman. Double Trouble also now included Reese Wynans on keyboards, which, along with Vaughan's addition of a wah-wah pedal, really expanded the sound. Vaughan has many fiery moments on this set as well, but he also loses focus during several solos, and seems more than content to share or even hand over the spotlight to fellow Texas guitar legend Johnny Copeland. Vaughan seems a bit worn out, and it wouldn't be long before he got sober. Even so, there are clear moments of brilliance and this time the audience is fully behind him. Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985 is a vital document for fans, showing the raw ingredients that would make him a star, then comparing it to what happened once he got there. It's a great look at the rise of one of rock's most revered guitar players. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Blues - Released October 24, 2014 | Epic - Legacy

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Blues - Released March 21, 1999 | Epic

Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of a kind. Even his peers knew so. So many times, people like Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy have spoken publicly about Stevie Ray's gift, and it was a gift. His guitar leads would jet off into the stratosphere, return, reload, and blast off again, time after time. The Real Deal is exactly what it says it is. This is a 16-song set that doesn't let up, not one time. Throughout classic Stevie Ray tracks, like the full-speed-ahead instrumental "Scuttle Buttin'," "Love Struck Baby," and "Look at Little Sister," Stevie and the Double Trouble band consistently stand and deliver. Live tracks include the funky Stevie Wonder-penned "Superstition," Vaughan favorite "Willie the Wimp," "Shake for Me," and the blues fire of "Leave My Girl Alone." It's Stevie Ray unleashed, live and without a net. One of the biggest crowd-pleasers is included here, Stevie's retelling of the Jimi Hendrix standard "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)." Awesome. "Lenny" shows off Stevie's jazz influence with subtle phrasing that evokes memories of "Little Wing" or the coda on "Layla." No more perfect closer could have been chosen for this set than the solo acoustic number "Life by the Drop." It's a touching tale of two old friends who become estranged and then rekindle their old friendship. With The Real Deal, we are all in that same boat. Rekindling a friendship that never really died, but may have been forgotten by some for a while. The friendship we all have with the heart and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughan, his music. © Michael B. Smith /TiVo
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Blues - Released November 28, 1989 | Cult Legends

Rock - Released January 1, 2017 | BKC

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Blues - Released January 14, 2007 | Epic - Legacy

Upon first glance, Epic/Legacy's 2007 collection Solos, Sessions & Encores might seem like little more than bottom-of-the-barrel scrapings, the last possible release that could be cobbled together from Stevie Ray Vaughan's plundered vaults. After all, this consists entirely of recordings where SRV was either a guest or a sideman, taking a spotlight on-stage or stepping into a studio to lay down a solo, and for many musicians such extracurricular activity is often tossed off, so it wouldn't add much to their legacy. Not so for Stevie Ray Vaughan. Part of his legend is built upon his boundless love for playing, of which his solo work and albums with Double Trouble was just part of the picture, so the 14 tracks on Solos, Sessions & Encores help fill out the details as everything from a previously unreleased 1978 cut with his former lover Lou Ann Barton to live recordings from ten years later is collected. Roughly half of this disc is previously unreleased -- including a blistering "Albert's Shuffle" with Albert Collins, a low-down "Change It" with Jimmie Vaughan, and a slow, smoldering "Texas Flood" where Bonnie Raitt stands toe to toe with Stevie -- but the unearthed gems matter less than the context. By collecting all this stray material, ranging from straight-up blues sessions like Marcia Ball's "Soulful Dress" to SRV's big breakthrough on David Bowie's "Let's Dance," this album showcases Vaughan's range and generosity as a player. Here, his skill for mimicry seems sympathetic, as he can allude to the right player at the right time in a variety of settings, all the while without ever abandoning his style. Plus, there's just some fantastic playing here, highlighted by a ferocious "Goin' Down" with Jeff Beck and a version of "The Sky Is Crying" with Albert and B.B. King. As sheer music, this is very enjoyable, but Solos, Sessions & Encores is most noteworthy for how it finally fills out SRV's legacy by capturing what a giving guitarist he was -- based on this, there are few who function better as a sideman than he. It may feel a bit like a fifth disc in a box set rather than its own standalone compilation, but Solos, Sessions & Encores is nevertheless a welcome addition to his catalog. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Rock - Released January 1, 2017 | Sound Stage

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Rock - Released January 1, 2017 | Sound Stage

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Blues - Released October 27, 2014 | Epic - Legacy

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Blues - Released October 24, 2014 | Epic - Legacy