Alright, guitar freaks: This week’s package is for you. This week we’re proud to release our first blues DLC, with the landmark debut by the master, Stevie Ray Vaughan. We don’t mean to slight the energetic work done on this disc by Vaughan’s inexhaustible rhythm section, Double Trouble. But if it’s jaw-dropping solos you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.
Texas Flood threw music for a loop when first released in 1983. This was the height of the video era, when glamour and great production were what it was all about. Blues was nowhere near the charts. By then Vaughan and Double Trouble had spent a few years building a reputation for inspired club gigs; Vaughan was also the lead guitarist on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. Bowie even offered him a slot on his Serious Moonlight tour, but Vaughan had other work to do.
Texas Flood was the kind of album you just didn’t make in 1983: It was raw and live-sounding, with no keyboard or backup vocal-type frills (Double Trouble would add a keyboardist later on). Not only was the album a hit but one of its tracks, “Pride & Joy,” became the best-known song of Vaughan’s career. And it started a blues revival on the charts; the coming years would bring commercial success by Robert Cray and Vaughan’s brother Jimmie’s band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
It’s hard to pick a favorite Stevie Ray album, and the five that he made were far too few. But Texas Flood has its share of classics, starting with the intense slow blues on the title track—a song that runs five minutes in this version, usually twice that long in concert. The album revs up in the middle with “Rude Mood” and “Dirty Pool” full of blistering licks: Just pretend you’re onstage at a small club in Austin, the Dixie beer is flowing and the roof starts flying off when you nail these solos.
There’s also a bonus this week: Last year we made No Doubt’s Singles one of our first full-album releases, but there was a hole in the track lineup as “New” wasn’t yet available. Now it is, so if that’s your favorite No Doubt hit the wait is over.