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Music Review: Stevie Ray Vaughan ‘The Real Deal Greatest Hits Volume 2’
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Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan
The Real Deal Greatest Hits Volume 2
MP3 | CD
Originally Released: March 23, 1999
Label: Sony

Amazon MP3 is offering up some amazing $5 album deals for the month of August, so it seems like a great time to visit some classics and see how they hold up to the modern music era. That’s right, you can snag Stevie Ray Vaughan The Real Deal Greatest Hits Volume 2 for $5 in MP3 format right now.

The loss of Stevie Ray Vaughan was a tragic one. He was at the forefront of a blues rock revolution that just fell apart with his death. Others such as Kenny Wayne Sheppard followed in his footsteps, but none could come close to filling his shoes. In the 1970s, guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix were responsible for integrating the classic blues riffs of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and Howlin’ Wolf into pop music in innovative ways. Stevie Ray Vaughan picked up where these musicians left off both by crafting his own brand of modern blues music, but also by bringing on the pop blues music with songs like his most arguably mainstream title Crossfire.

Vaughan took a much more aggressive approach to a style of classic blues that is essentially fairly laid back than Clapton did. Vaughan is truly the evolution of Jimi Hendrix, a musician that also grabbed laid back blues riffs and literally attacked them with heavy guitar tones and out of the box approaches. Vaughn even covered some Hendrix songs and nailed the spirit of them like no other musician since the man himself. If you are to be a student of the evolution of blues in pop music you’d have to start with Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, work your way through BB King,Buddy Guy, and Albert Lee, then Clapton, Hendrix, and Page, and finish up with Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Vaughn assembled a stellar and slim rhythm section in Double Trouble that allowed for pop tunes such as “Crossfire” and “Tightrope” as well as classic 12 bar tunes such as “Pride and Joy” and the slower paced “Texas Flood.” There’s even a little jazz thrown in for good measure, but not too much. It has been said that a true fan of music would never own a “greatest hits” and to a point I can see that perspective. In the example of Vaughan, some of his most interesting music is the B sides. At the same time a well done greatest hits can be a cool playlist and can also be a solid way for a new fan to be introduced to a musicians more palpable offerings before getting into the experimental album fare. What’s particularly interesting about this collection is that it features a mix of his more popular songs as well as some of his B sides. Since his passing Vaughan’s B sides have become much more popular due to ravenous fans digging for something new to listen to. Notable tunes here are his live renditions “Superstition” and “Willie the Wimp.” These are great examples of the energy Vaughan imbued during a live show. Just listening to them you can almost feel the sweat pouring off the musicians. “Superstition” is particularly amazing because he managed to make a song that’s so iconically a Stevie Wonder song his own with a super aggressive approach to the guitar work.

“Voodoo Child” is of course a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic and while it’s a fan favorite, it’s most “notable” because it’s a near note for note redo with proper guitar sounds and all. It’s Vaughan’s homage to one of his most influential musicians. “Telephone Song” is easily the most “80’s” tune on the album but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it features great guitar work and vocals. I will say that it just feels a little like an 80’s movie soundtrack tune like maybe for Lethal Weapon or Stakeout. Considering Eric Clapton did the soundtrack for Lethal Weapon it’s not much of a stretch, is it? “Scuttle Buttin’” is a fun instrumental that sets Vaughan loose in a 12 bar blues environment allowing him to showboat for a few minutes. I mean that literally as the song doesn’t overstay its welcome.

“Ain’t Gonna Give Up on Love” is quintessential laid back Stevie Ray Vaughan brimming with silky smooth guitar riffs and solid emo vocals that most guitar players would kill to be able to pull off. The album closes with “Life by the Drop,” an acoustic song that was originally featured on Vaughan’s post-death release titled The Sky is Crying. The song is beautifully executed and a sad reminder of what we lost with Vaughan’s tragic passing in the helicopter crash.

The Real Deal Greatest Hits Volume 2 features some of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s best songs, but it’s still missing some of his true classics. The volume 2 moniker is appropriate because it is an “also from” collection where most of the big hits are on a previous release. If you already have volume 1 and you’re looking for more Vaughan goodness without picking up his entire catalog, then this $5 deal is a no-brainer.

Pick up Stevie Ray Vaughan The Real Deal Volume 2 here and see all of the $5 Amazon albums here (the CD is also on sale for $8.99).

Note – when you purchase MP3s through Amazon, it stores your purchases to Amazon’s Cloud Drive; from there you can stream the music right from their online player. Also, if you have a Kindle Fire, your MP3 purchases will automatically be available for you to stream on your device. All your purchases are backed up and available for you to download at any time. You can download the files to your computer to load to an MP3 device and to your iTunes account if you have one. If you’d like to gift these MP3 purchases, you can – just click the “Give album or song as gift” button on the right on the product page. From there you enter the recipient’s email address and then select either specific songs to gift or the entire album.

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