STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN & DOUBLE TROUBLE -- Live at Carnegie Hall (Epic)

On October 4, 1984 (the day after his 30th birthday), Stevie Ray Vaughan played a show at world famous Carnegie Hall. This gig was a bit different than usual though. For the first time in the band's history, Stevie Ray and Double Trouble (Chris Layton on drums, and Tommy Shannon on bass) expanded the band's regular trio format in the second half of the show. Older brother Jimmie Vaughan joined them onstage, along with Dr. John on keyboards, and the five-piece Roomful of Blues horn section.

SRV chose a number of cover songs to be performed during the show, reflecting his own musical influences. After being introduced by John Hammond (the man who signed SRV to the Epic label), the band rips into "Scuttle Buttin'" and an extended version of Testifyin'." The horn section joins them for first of two Guitar Slim covers, "Letter to My Girlfriend," and stays onstage until the encores. "Dirty Pool" showcases SRV at his fiery best. One of the highlights of the CD is hearing the interplay with SRV and the horns on "Pride and Joy." It's great to hear how easily he adapted the song to the new arrangement.

On "The Things That I Used to Do," the audience is treated to one of the few public appearances of the Vaughan brothers. The guitar work on this track is awe-inspiring. As with any SRV show, one of the highlights here is "Lenny," a beautiful instrumental from his debut album. Written for his wife, he introduces it as "a song I've always wanted to play in a place like this." The CD wraps up with a shorter than usual, solo version of "Rude Mood."

This CD is a worthy addition to any SRV collection. There are enough of the hits to please the newcomers, and the variety in the set will please the diehard fans too.

© 1997 Steve Marshall