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Stevie Ray Vaughan Profile

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Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Photo by Howard Rosenberg, courtesy Epic Records

Stevie Ray Vaughan Profile:

Born: October 3, 1954 in Dallas TX

Died: August 27, 1990 in East Troy WI

Guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan hit the rock and blues scenes like a lightning bolt. Fusing the blues-rock styles of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton with the electric blues sound of Muddy Waters and Albert King - with a few rockabilly and jazz licks thrown in - Vaughan revived the slumbering blues scene with his talents and showmanship.

Double Trouble

Vaughan picked up the guitar as a child, inspired by his older brother Jimmie. After several years playing clubs in the Austin, Texas area, Vaughan put together Triple Threat in 1975 with vocalist Lou Ann Barton, bassist Jackie Newhouse and drummer Chris Layton. When Barton left Triple Threat in 1978, Vaughan took over vocals and renamed the band "Double Trouble," with Tommy Shannon taking over on bass.

Texas Flood

A 1982 performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival brought Vaughan to the attention of musicians David Bowie and Jackson Browne. Bowie asked Vaughan to play on his Let's Dance album, and Browne offered the band free studio time at his facility where the band recorded its 1983 debut, Texas Flood. The album received critical acclaim from both the rock and blues worlds.

Vaughan's subsequent albums - 1983's Couldn't Stand The Weather and 1985's Soul To Soul - further bridged the gap between rock and blues audiences. The latter album expanded Vaughan's sound with the addition of keyboardist Reese Wynans. Vaughan released Live Alive in 1986 to satisfy fans clamoring for a live album.

In Step

Even as his career was achieving remarkable heights, Vaughan spiraled into alcohol-and-drug-fueled despair, and he spent almost a year in rehab. When Vaughan emerged, he and the band recorded 1989's In Step. The album won a Grammy Award as "Best Contemporary Blues Album."

Stevie Ray recorded 1990's Brother To Brother with his brother Jimmie. After an all-star jam session at a festival in Wisconsin in August 1990, Vaughan left the backstage area in a helicopter. Tragically, the helicopter crashed into the nearby mountains, killing Vaughan and four other passengers.

Recommended Albums: Beginners can't go wrong with any of Vaughan's first three studio albums, but The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan album, released after his death, best showcases the talented guitarist's fiery blue-rock style. In 2014, Analogue Productions released an impressive six-LP box set that includes all of Vaughan's studio albums, re-mastered for vinyl and packaged in beautiful gatefold sleeves.

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