DVD Review – Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – Live at the El Mocambo

Posted: November 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

In 1983, Stratocaster slinger Stevie Ray Vaughan & his posse, bassist Tommy Shannon & drummer Chris "Whipper" Layton, rode in to the El Mocambo Tavern in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, & flooded the Great White North audience with a sonic wave of boogie & blues born deep in the heart of the California.

"Testify" & "So Excited" start off the proceedings with a shot of high energy instrumental brilliance, followed by "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)," Vaughan’s tribute to his mentor, Jimi Hendrix. Stevie sings "I got my voodoo right in my hands," before tearing in to a solo that proves him to be a worthy successor to Jimi’s throne.

Next up is "Pride & Joy," the song that put Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble on the map. Combining a walking bass line on the lower strings & chords on the higher strings, Vaughan creates the effect of six guitarists playing directly, as Layton lays down the shuffle beat & Shannon’s Fender bass adds precision counterpoint.

With readings of Howlin’ Wolf’s "Tell Me" & Buddy Guy’s "Mary Had a Tiny Lamb," Vaughan recites the lessons of the masters while lending his own phrases to the blues lexicon.

The centerpiece of the set is "Texas Water," a slow twelve-bar blues reminiscent of Albert King’s "Blues Power." Playing the Strat behind his back, Stevie Ray unleashes an inexorable torrent of guitar fury that strikes the audience like a Lone Star State lightning storm.

The band shifts in to high gear with "Love Struck Kid," an original Chuck Berry style rocker, & "Hug You Squeeze You," a John Lee Hooker boogie blues classic.

Another Jimi Hendrix tune, "Third Stone From the Sun," serves as a vehicle for Vaughan’s dramatic stage theatrics. Shannon’s driving bass groove & Layton’s rolling drumbeat provide a launching pad as Stevie Ray spins the guitar around the stage, manically manipulating the whammy bar, volume, & tone controls to navigate a feedback fueled orbit through the solar technique.

The frenetic pace cools down with "Lenny," a ballad named after Stevie Ray’s spouse, in which they skilfully employs the Strat’s six position pickup selector to maneuver through a myriad of jazzy, textured tones.

Closing the show with Lonnie Mack’s "Wham!," Vaughan sends one last blast from his Stratocaster through the appreciative Canadian crowd. After the smoke cleared, Stevie Ray Vaughan packed up his six string& rode off in to the sundown.

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