Jimmie Vaughan – Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites
Shout Factory Keith Boyd 11.10.10
There are perhaps endless ways to explain what constitutes Soul music. In everything from Otis Redding to Rufus Thomas to Barry White and Isaac Hayes you hear bits of R&B, Funk, Gospel, Country, Blues and Jazz. Add that all up and you still only come to one definition. It’s this diverse palette of sounds that makes for such an engaging sonic narrative. While Jimmie Vaughan might be more closely associated with Texas Blues and Blues-inspired Rock his new album, “Jimmie Vaughan Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites” gets down to the essence of Soul and in doing so gives us a delightful and inspired set of music.
Having released only four solo albums in 16 years, Texas guitar legend and ex-Fabulous Thunderbird member, Jimmie Vaughan, hasn’t exactly been prolific but he has certainly opted for quality over quantity. The album offers up 15 great covers and one original. Vaughan’s voice and guitar are in top form, and he has surrounded himself with many of the extraordinary players who have been involved in his music
Most of the band is mostly comprised of the same lineup on Vaughan’s recent
collaboration with Kent ‘Omar’ Dykes, the “Jimmy Reed Highway” album. Perhaps
most significant of these is fellow Austin-based vocalist Lou Ann Barton, who is
featured on six tracks. Her vocals, and the intertwining harmonies between her and
Vaughan, contribute greatly to the rich and warm tone of the album. Rounding out the
group are George Rains on drums, and Bill Willis on Hammond B3 organ.
Things get off to a rocking start with Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson’s “The Pleasure’s All
Mine”, an R&B stomper punctuated by the saxophone’s of Greg Picollo and Kas
Kasenoff along with the trademark, short and to-the-point Vaughan solo. The group
revisits Jimmy Reed’s catalog with “Come Love” which is highlighted by some
excellent harmonica work from Jimmie Vaughan himself. Don Harris and Dewey
Terry’s classic “I’m Leaving It Up To You” is a pure gem. The impassioned vocals
weave around each other with a soulful, 1970’s AM radio vibe. You can just imagine it
blasting from the speakers of a convertible on a drives through a hot Texas night as it
brings revelers and lovers out for a night at some rural Juke Joint.
The only Jimmie Vaughan original is a jazzy instrumental, “Comin’ & Goin’”. The
track is driven by the fine rhythm section work of George Rains and Ronnie James.
Rounding out the sound is Vaughan’s feisty guitar playing that seems to literally
spar with the horns. Lou Ann Barton shines on “Wheel Of Fortune”. Her smoky and
powerful voice caresses every syllable of this tale of love and gambling.
Other treats include the Ted Taylor song “I Miss You So” (with Vaughan and Barton again sharing vocals); a trip way back to early Fabulous Thunderbird days for Guitar Junior’s “Roll, Roll, Roll” and Little Richard’s “Send Me Some Lovin’”.
This is an album for both the good times on Saturday night and the weepy, hung-over
regrets of Sunday morning. It drips with an accomplished yet understated charm. These
are great songs delivered with a direct reverence and skilled playfulness.