Artist: Stevie Ray Vaughan
Title: “In Step”
Format: Compact disc (Spotify)
“In Step” is Stevie Ray Vaughan’s final album with Double Trouble and Vaughan’s first after a stint in rehab.
Clean and sober, SRV’s blues boogie shows some polish, which takes away a bit of the appeal of the blues in the first place.
“The House is Rockin’ ” and “Crossfire” open the platter, a one-two punch of two of his most famous works. The trills in “Crossfire” show his signature classy yet aggressive style, which electrifies his solo on “Leave My Girl Alone.”
The disc ends well, too, with “Riviera Paradise,” a glorious, nine-minute marriage of blues and jazz that stands as an indication of what might have come had Vaughan not died in a 1990 helicopter crash.
The only gripe here is that it is merely stellar instead of transcendent. But it’s the blues, not free jazz. “In Step” isn’t perfect – while “Wall of Denial” is lacking, it’s not enough to drag the record down.
“In Step” is the fine final effort from an artist from whom we got too little.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.