Guitar Players, Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan

Guitar Players, Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of my main influences and guitar players to listen and watch was one of the leading blues and rock guitarists of his generation, coming from obscurity to immediate success in the early 1980’s. Mr. Vaughan was a technical guitar virtuoso who played with fingers of lightening and was a master of the explosive sound effects that had been pioneered by Jimi Hendrix, one of the most significant of many influences on his playing. Essentially a blues master and traditionalist, he played solos in a style that was characterized by a smooth, long-solo of the Texas blues, phrase after phrase.

Stevie Ray, who was born in Dallas, was the younger brother of Jimmie Vaughan, of the successful rock band the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Stevie Ray never had a guitar lesson in his life. And it was through listening to his older brother’s collection of guitar records by B. B. King, Lonnie Mack, Albert Collins and others that he began picking up the instrument. Fairly accomplished by the age of 8, he became a part-time professional in his teens, playing with various Dallas-area bands in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. He dropped out of high school in his senior year to move to Austin, Tex., where he formed a blues group, the Cobras, in 1975.

Two years later he put together a rhythm-and-blues revue, Triple Threat, with vocalist Lou Ann Barton, W. C. Clark on bass guitar, Mike Kindred on keyboards, and Fredde “Pharoah” Walden on drums, which remained together until 1981, when he decided to form a harder-driving, more rock-blues band. The new group, Double Trouble, included the bass guitarist Tommy Shannon and the drummer Chris Layton. Double Trouble took its name from a song popularized by Otis Rush.

Word of mouth about Double Trouble’s abilities quickly spread outside Texas, and the unknown band was invited to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in April 1982. There SRV, playing a 1959 Stratocaster, created more than a sensation and attracted the attention of David Bowie, who invited him to play lead guitar on his album ”Let’s Dance.”

The Rolling Stones subsequently invited him to play in a private audition, and Jackson Browne offered him the use of his Los Angeles studio. John Hammond, the producer and talent scout, prodded CBS Records to sign the band, and he co-produced its first album, ”Texas Flood,” which was released in early 1983 on the Epic label.

The record was a success, selling more than 500,000 copies and winning two Grammy nominations, for best rock instrumental performance (Rude Mood) and best traditional blues recording. The band’s second album, ”Couldn’t Stand the Weather,” released in the summer of 1984, exploded on the blues side to include jazz and hard rock with a version of Jimi Hendrix’s ”Voodoo Chile.” It sold over a million copies and won the band a third Grammy nomination. The following year, the band won its first Grammy Award for best traditional blues recording of 1984, for a track on an Atlantic Records anthology, ”Blues Explosion.”

Mr. Vaughan was developing as an excellent composer as well as guitarist, his 1985 album included three original songs. With that album, the group added a fourth member, the keyboardist Reese Wynans. One track from the album, ”Say What!,” won a Grammy nomination as best rock instrumental performance.

A Fifth Gold Album: In 1986, Mr. Vaughan and Double Trouble released a two-disk concert album, ”Live Alive,” which with sales of over 500,000, became his fifth consecutive gold album.

There was a three-year gap between ”Live Alive” and his next record, ”In Step,” which was released in the summer and won a Grammy for best contemporary blues recording. During that break the guitarist gave up drugs and alcohol. His abstinence was the theme of two of the new album’s songs, ”Wall of Denial” and ”Tightrope.”

Stevie Ray Vaughan took the basic 12 bar blues structure to new level. SRV will always be in the top two favorite guitar players of mine. The other qualifier is…Jimi Hendrix. Who is #1? Stevie Ray was one of the guitar geniuses that never needed guitar lessons. The geniuses provide us with new material to teach.

You know that the helicopter crash that killed Stevie Ray and 9 other people was pilot error. What a waste. The guy gets straight and then dies. Another great artist we will never know where he was going to. One thing about ir, there are plenty of Stevie Ray Vaughan imitators, and damn good ones too, but Stevie Ray invented the style we play. Thanks Ray. RIP.

8 Responses to Stevie Ray Vaughan Guitar Player Virtuoso is The Blues.

  1. man this was probably the hardest ‘vs.’ thing i ever came across. you have Jimi Hendrix who is considered the best guitarist ever, then you have Stevie Ray Vaughan who (in my mind) is the greatest blues guitarist ever…but i would have to say both because without Jimi, Stevie probably, PROBABLY, wouldn’t be as great as he was. and Stevie is just one of those guitarist that showed his emotional connection with the guitar. then again Jimi was a pretty awesome showman…and so was Stevie. man both had it all…style, showmanship, changing the guitar into a rare instrument that they gave a soul to. but if i had to choose right on the top of my head, i’d say Stevie Ray Vaughan, because his style had bends and trills as for Jimi hendrix he used wah-wah petals and had a really crunch, tearing sound (which is cool but i like to here those bends and trills because it sounds like the guitar is talking). haha i bet a lot of people are probably calling me stupid and saying “Jimi Hendrix is voted the best guitarist ever” or “you don’t know what true guitar playing is”…but i don’t give a shit…this is what i like and it’s what i’m stand up for…i’m not saying i hate Jimi Hendrix, i’m just saying i prefer Stevie Ray Vaughan over him.

  2. nice

  3. They were both great, but there is no contest.
    Vaughn was more technically precise, but it was Hendrix who went where no man (guitarist) had gone before. Without Jimi, Vaughn might still be alive today.

  4. I identify with Stevie more, being a Texan: that being said,I know he wouldn’t care for this VS. many bluesmen influanced him, and Jimi was a big one. But when asked about the compairation, he would say “Their is only one Jimi Hendrix, ” I’m Me “…. R.I.P. to both of them.

  5. I’ve never understood the comparison of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.
    One of them was a very great guitar player the other one is and always will be a unique in everything he did.
    Stevie Ray falls over like so many other so-called “guitar heroes”, one kind of a sound, style and type of music. Jimi could find the right sound for each song, so diverse in everything he did, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Lady Land, Band of Gypsys, and the Cry of Love shows a limitless expression of songs, music, sounds and playing styles.
    Stevie Ray sounds quite similar in all he did the same structure in most of the solos and you could figure out how he would have sounded if he had been alive today but you couldn’t do that with Jimi.
    Jimi’s dialogue with the guitar in songs like ‘Red House’ from San Diego shows on things that no one has come near. Take for example, Machine Gun from the Fillmore East do you think in your wildest imagination that Stevie Ray could do something such as this, in your dreams maybe!
    No, Stevie Ray was a very good guitarist but in comparison with Jimi, for me, he’s a drop in the Atlantic, unfortunately!
    You could not have a comparison between these two, so leave it and be inspired of their works instead and try to get a own style and expression out of your listening.

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