Late Night OTB – Stevie Ray Vaughn

Ladies and gentlemen, Stevie Ray Vaughn:

In 1983, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s tunes “Pride and Joy” and “Lenny” began trickling onto the airwaves and the blues and rock worlds did a simultaneous double take and a “What the hell was that?” unlike anything since Jimi Hendrix’s ascension in 1967. The power and the passion of his playing was unmistakable from hearing only the first few bars – here was a force to be reckoned with, a new sound from old sounds distilled into a blazing mix of nuance and ferocity.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bains says:

    I had the pleasure of seeing Vaughan in Eugene Oregon 1989. Robert Cray was the headliner for the outdoor show. Being Oregon it was wet. Vaughan however put on a show rivaling any Springsteen or Carlos show I have ever seen. When Cray came on, I realized that the sound setup was totally geared for his act. Cray sounded wonderful… just like a recording studio produced CD. On the drive back to Portland, my brother, his soon to be wife and I all agreed that Stevie stole the show. In hindsight, I wonder just how good that show might have been had the sound been geared for Vaughan.

  2. pudge says:

    I enjoyed SRVs music too, but it is hard to listen to Leadbelly,Robert Johnson,Son House,Muddy Waters and a thousand others and not wonder if he wasn’t just the ’90s version of Pat Boone. Certainly he never would have existed without the afforementioned originals, and one could argue that he was really just a sort of reverse minstrel boy. As for the,”a new sound from old sounds distilled into a blazing mix of nuance and ferocity” claim, all I can say is, check out the Saturday afternoon college “Blues Show” in your area, and you will hear things that dwarf his talent,and some of them are actually sober. But at least he brought some attention to the genre if not its forebearers.

  3. Dave says:

    I have been to a lot of “blues shows” and have seen nothing that dwarfed SRV’s talent. I saw both he and Albert Collins in DC in the mid 80’s both were great neither were “sober”. As if Leadbelly were very much sober….not sure what that has to do with good blues playing.