Solos Sessions and Encores gives us a perfect opportunity to reappraise the blistering...
Daryl Easlea 2008
Solos, Sessions and Encores is a long overdue tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of the great innovators of blues guitar. Had he lived earlier, he would have been venerated. After his tragic death in 1990, Vaughan is now in a half-remembered twilight; this collection demonstrates how inventive and exciting he was in one of the most derivative of all genres.
Gathering 14 performances – including six previously unreleased – together, the album is a poignant showcase for his startling guitar style. Here, he takes on his influences and contemporaries and leaves few prisoners. Among the highlights, there's a rough and ready "Albert's Shuffle" with Albert King; a storming "Oreo Cookie Blues" with Lonnie Mack and a stuttering, loping workout with Jeff Beck on "Goin' Down". The live version of "The Sky Is Crying" that opens the album sees Vaughan playing with Albert King, Paul Butterfield and B.B. King. It is simply electrifying.
The final track is the one that brought him to the wider world's attention – David Bowie's "Let's Dance". Vaughan momentarily joined the select club of grandstanding Bowie guitarists from Mick Ronson through Adrian Belew, and provided the earthy solos to Bowie's Nile Rodgers-produced dance anthem. It was a shame that Bowie and Vaughan fell out, as a continued collaboration would have brought SRV further into the spotlight.
Released in conjunction with the DVD premiere of his retrospective, Pride and Joy, Solos Sessions and Encores gives us a perfect opportunity to reappraise the blistering talent of Stevie Ray Vaughan.