Stevie Ray Vaughan: Texas Flood (30th Anniversary Legacy Edition)

Texas Flood is just as aggressive and impressive as it was 30 years ago.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

Texas Flood (30th Anniversary Legacy Edition)

Label: Columbia
US Release Date: 2013-01-29
UK Release Date: 2013-01-28

No matter what, Stevie Ray Vaughan was going to make a name for himself, whether it was as a solo artist or as one of David Bowie's hired guns. Vaughan had played on Bowie's hugely successful Let's Dance record and was scheduled to join Bowie's 1983 tour before he suddenly wasn't. Depending on whose story you listen to, Vaughan and his manager were either let go, or they quit. Whatever the case, Vaughan found himself in a good position to promote his debut record, Texas Flood.

By the time Vaughan died at the age of 35 in a helicopter accident in 1990, he'd gone through the classic rock star arc in the course of only four studio albums: big splash and accolades, substance abuse problems, redemption and creative rebirth. His last record, 1989's In Step, found him on the clear side of his addictions and finding crossover success with lots of radio and MTV play.

Texas Flood was the record that introduced him to the world, though, and you couldn't ask for a better introduction. The album showcases Vaughan's trademark take on the Texas blues sound, that famous chunky rhythm that sounded like Vaughan was playing some kind of heavy-gauge fencing wire instead of guitar strings. In addition to defining his sound right out of the gate, it also featured a batch of songs that remained live staples for the rest of Vaughan's career. "Texas Flood" scored a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Performance, "Rude Mood" was nominated for Best Rock Instrumental performance, and "Pride and Joy" hit #20 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It was a pure dose of Vaughan and his band Double Trouble (Tommy Shannon on bass and Chris Layton on drums) playing the songs live in studio just as they'd been playing them on stage.

This 30th Anniversary Edition reinforces that picture of a young band with something to prove by adding a second disc containing a 1983 performance at Philadelphia's Ripley's Music Hall. In addition to the expected tracks from Texas Flood, the performance also features future Vaughan staples like his cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" and "Little Wing". Perhaps due to space limitations, it's a few songs short of the full performance, but it's still a show well worth hearing.

As for the studio disc, it still holds up as well as it always did. Vaughan's playing is by turns tasteful and blistering, and it's not surprising the album gets a lot of credit for revitalizing the blues scene at the time. Well-chosen covers like "Tell Me", "Testify", and the title track fit right alongside originals like "Love Struck Baby" and "Pride and Joy"; Vaughan definitely turns everything into a showcase for his unique style. It's still probably the best place to start for those unfamiliar with his music.

The ony quibble comes in the selection of bonus tracks. Whereas the 1999 reissue contained an interview snippet and four bonus tracks, this edition has only one extra song. Three of those earlier bonus tracks were live, so maybe with this reissue having a whole live disc attached, the cuts from the 1999 reissue felt superfluous. All that's left is his cover of Tin Pan Alley (aka Roughest Place in Town)", which is always nice to have. Still, it's just one of those curious and frustrating things you always seem to have with albums that get reissued multiple times.

There's little doubt that Vaughan died too early, before he showed us just how far he could go. In Step showed him starting to branch out and expand his songwriting beyond pure blues before he died, and it would have been nice to see where that ultimately took him. As it stands, that album will just have to provide a tantalizing bookend to the raw power that Texas Flood captured.


If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.