Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'Greatest Hits' Provides A Good Discography Overview
From the archives: SRV's 'Greatest Hits' is a good snapshot of the singer/guitarist at his best
(This review, written by Carl E. Baugher, originally appeared in Issue 5/6, Winter 1995/96.)
The lineage of American electric guitar is a long, rich, exciting thread. It runs through Muddy Waters, Albert King, Albert Collins, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and the kid from Texas, Stevie Ray Vaughan. A plane crash in late August 1990 took Vaughan way too soon but his music sounds just as fresh and vital today as ever. Stevie never made a bad album so putting together a greatest hits package was a no-brainer. While one could quibble with the odd track or two, this album is a good snapshot of the singer/guitarist at his best.
The previously unreleased take of George Harrison’s “Taxman” kicks off the record in the soulful, blues shuffle style for which Stevie Ray was rightly celebrated. To hear tracks like “Texas Flood,” “The House Is Rockin’,” “Pride and Joy,” “Crossfire” and “Cold Shot” back-to-back is an exhilarating experience. Stevie sure could choke those heavy gauge wires on that ol’ Strat! If you can keep your toes from tapping through “Couldn’t Stand The Weather,” you might wanna check for a pulse or put a mirror under your nose to see if you’re still breathing.
The domestic LP sounds good, with only a faint suggestion of glare from what was probably a digital master. Nice, thick slab of vinyl, too—kudos to Sony/Epic. Bass is strong and solid while Vaughan’s vocals and guitar are upfront and well-mixed. In fact, this album sounds just a step below the original Epic LPs—a little brighter with flatter imaging. Of course, there’s a CD out but I haven’t heard it (why should I?).
Greatest Hits is no substitute for the original albums (if you don’t have all of them, throw down this magazine right NOW and head for the nearest used record store), but it’s a good overview and a must for the SRV collector.
(Editor’s note: Used copies of SRV’s original Epic LPs are plentiful and inexpensive. There’s also an excellent SBM gold CD of Couldn’t Stand The Weather (Epic EK 53927) for you digiphiles/analogophobes.)