Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Troubles debut album Texas Flood came roaring onto the music scene in 1983. The original recording was done in just 3 days time. These recordings were enough to convince the executives at Epic records to sign SRV and Double Trouble and give them the opportunity to re-record and master the tracks. If you listen closely to this album, you can hear the authenticity in the sound and the way it was recorded. There is a pocket of reverberation in Stevie’s guitar tone that echoes around you (especially listening to this album on headphones). Bassist Tommy Shannon recalls that they recorded it in a large warehouse with concrete floors, some carpets thrown on the floor, and playing in a circle listening to and watching each other play. Most of the amps and drums had one mic position three or four inches away at an angle. Stevie only used one effect being his signature Ibanez Tube Screamer.
Texas Flood single handedly brought the blues back alive during the 80’s. When synthesizers and power rock ballads dominated the charts, Texas Flood revived the back to blues basics with upbeat blues-shuffles and an unmatched tenacious guitar sound. The album peaked at #38 on the Billboard 200 chart following its release.
The opening track “Love Struck Baby” consists of a 12 bar blues chord progression that rocks you right into the album. The moderately fast drum beat Chris Layton lays down is the perfect landscape for Stevie to work with. “Pride and Joy” is SRV’s and Double Trouble’s first single and one of their most popularized songs. This song incorporates a classic Texas shuffle that showcases Stevie’s skills as a guitar player as well as his talent at creating catchy lyrics.
The self titled track “Texas Flood” was originally recorded by an old bluesman named Larry Davis. Stevie Ray Vaughan had always tipped his hat to the older bluesman and soaked up any guitar parts that he found intriguing. In this track he focus’s in on his soloing doubling the length of the original. If you are a guitar enthusiast like myself this is a must listen to.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble even managed to add the nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and turn it into a cool groove for modern times. The closing track “Lenny” showed off the variety of Stevie’s guitar abilities. He utilizes jazz inflected chords and solo runs throughout the song. This is one of the most beautiful instrumental tracks to be played on a guitar.
There is no doubt that Stevie Ray Vaughan was and still is one of the greatest guitar players to ever live. His authentic and powerful guitar showmanship goes unparalleled even after his passing 24 years ago. The love and passion he put towards playing the guitar makes me wish I could only have half of that towards anything else.
Listen to Texas Flood on spotify.