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Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985
     

Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985

by Stevie Ray Vaughan
 

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Unappreciative audiences can work as much magic as those that are enraptured. When Bob Dylan first plugged in, fans booed, but he persevered -- not only did his old followers learn to appreciate him, the size of his audience exploded. In 1982, Stevie Ray Vaughan played the Montreux Jazz Festival, and on the first disc of Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985, you can

Overview

Unappreciative audiences can work as much magic as those that are enraptured. When Bob Dylan first plugged in, fans booed, but he persevered -- not only did his old followers learn to appreciate him, the size of his audience exploded. In 1982, Stevie Ray Vaughan played the Montreux Jazz Festival, and on the first disc of Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985, you can hear the boos mixed in with the applause. The crowd preferred black blues players to white musicians who added a rock perspective to the roots sounds. But Vaughan played beautifully in spite of the rude crowd. His guitar solos are precise yet flowing, his vocals are strong but loose, and his band, Double Trouble, is with him all the way. The tunes they played were classics even then: “Hide Away,” “Texas Flood,” and “Give Me Back My Wig.” There was no encore, but the recording of the set won a Grammy. Three years later, Vaughan returned to Montreux, and the mood captured on Disc 2 of the set was ebullient. Vaughan’s playing is more seasoned, and the sound is fatter because organist Reese Wynans had joined the band by this time. Vaughan’s playing on much of the material is more aggressive and over the top on “Say What!” but the audience loves every note. Another Texas native, Johnny Copeland, joins the band on vocals for a searing rendition of “Tin Pan Alley,” and Vaughan’s own pain-filled vocals tear your heart out on “Life Without You.” Though the tunes are familiar -- “Pride and Joy,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb," and “Voodoo Child” are included in the second set -- some of these tracks have not been issued before, so Live at Montreux is a must for Vaughan completists. But the package is also of interest to those who appreciate the ironies of life in the music business.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Sean Westergaard
Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985 is a historically significant recording, presenting Stevie Ray Vaughan in the biggest show of his life to that date, then three years later, once he had become a star. The 1982 show is essentially the show that got his career started. He met both Jackson Browne and David Bowie after his set, and they were so impressed that Browne volunteered use of his studio (for free!) for Stevie to record what would become his debut album, and Bowie recruited him as lead guitarist for the Let's Dance album and tour (alas, the tour was not to be). However, not everyone was so impressed. In fact, there are choruses of boos that follow nearly every tune. Vaughan was basically a nobody at the time, playing very electric blues at the end of a mostly acoustic program. But he had done enough bar gigs to completely rise above it, and he plays with the passion and hunger of a young musician getting his big chance. He's not really an engaging frontman at this point in his career, but man, can he play that guitar. And he simply never lets up. Even at this stage, his tone and style are pretty close to fully formed, and it's easy to see how he could become the guitar hero he ended up being. The 1985 show is quite a contrast. Vaughan had become a star, and it shows in so many ways. He had developed more of a stage persona, with showier moves and infinitely more presence as a frontman. Double Trouble also now included Reese Wynans on keyboards, which, along with Vaughan's addition of a wah-wah pedal, really expanded the sound. Vaughan has many fiery moments on this set as well, but he also loses focus during several solos, and seems more than content to share or even hand over the spotlight to fellow Texas guitar legend Johnny Copeland. Vaughan seems a bit worn out, and it wouldn't be long before he got sober. Even so, there are clear moments of brilliance and this time the audience is fully behind him. Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985 is a vital document for fans, showing the raw ingredients that would make him a star, then comparing it to what happened once he got there. It's a great look at the rise of one of rock's most revered guitar players.
Blender - Carlo Twist
Vaughan’s performance is outstanding: His lilting, unhurried vocals are matched by some lovely, measured playing, not least on the delicious pauses loaded between verse and solo on "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Product Details

Release Date:
11/20/2001
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998615120
catalogNumber:
86151
Rank:
14541

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