Stevie Ray Vaughan: Up Close ['96]

Air Date: August 19 - August 25, 1996
Transcription by

Announcer: 1-800-CALL-ATT presents "Up Close". Hi, I'm Dan Neer. Next week will be six years since the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Here's a few remarks about the late, great guitarist.

Buddy Guy: What's the song by Eddie Floyd? It's like thunder, he was like lightning, every time he strike, it was frightening.

Eric Clapton: His strength was...was in that...that sort of power he had with the guitar and with his singing and with his music, his whole, the whole thing.

B.B.King: ...and you hear, you stop, oh my God listen to this guy play. And he's young too!

Art Neville: He just had the...he had the feeling, it was a special gift. It was a gift.

Robert Cray: ...and he could just keep going on and on and on and know...talking to you. It was great.

Bonnie Raitt: I think the...the most...lasting memory I always have of Stevie is his passion.

Jimmie Vaughan: Well, when I think about him, I think about him as my little brother, I mean, he was an unbelievable musician...we all know that.

Announcer: That was Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Art Neville, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray's brother, Jimmie, from a video which is a companion to a new CD from Epic Records called A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. The music came from the taping of last year's tribute concert in Austin, Texas, emceed by Jimmie Vaughan. I'll have some more information on the new CD after this.

*Commercial Announcements*

Announcer: As I mentioned earlier, A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan has just been released. You would reasonably expect a fair amount of sensational guitar playing on the album and giants like Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Robert Cray and Eric Clapton certainly do not disappoint. We've assembled our own two part tribute to Stevie Ray which we've decided to begin just like as the Austin concert did. This is part one of Media America Radio's presentation of Stevie Ray Vaughan...Up Close.

Bonnie Raitt: (from the Tribute concert) Stevie, this one's for you darlin'. Stevie was my pride and joy, he's all of our pride and joy.

"PRIDE AND JOY" (Bonnie Raitt live Tribute performance)

Announcer: That was Bonnie Raitt's version of "PRIDE AND JOY" performed with Double Trouble at Austin City Limits studio from the Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan CD. Now here's a great lover of the blues, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Stevie Ray: Let's face it, there are lots...and lots and lots of musicians who came up with this style music...that are still...kickin' constantly...and can't get a record deal, some of them can't even get a gig, and doesn't make any sense to have...young, white punks like myself on the radio making all the money, when the people who came up with music in the first place, and still are...and are still very much the real thing, not gettin' listened to at all.


Announcer: Buddy Guy.

Buddy Guy: When Stevie Ray Vaughan did my, my, the, the, the tune I wrote, "Mary Had A Little Lamb", when I go out and play it, I can hear people say, "Oh, that's Stevie's number". (laughs) You know, so I say OK man, you know, that's Stevie's number. But Stevie knows whose number it was. (voice in background says, "Yeah?") Yeah.

Announcer: And now so do we. Stevie Ray recorded it on Texas Flood. Stevie Ray and his brother Jimmie are two in a long line of magnificent guitarists from the Lone Star State. Think Lightnin' Hopkins, Albert Collins, Freddie King, Billy Gibbons, Johnny Winter and Charlie Sexton. However, the Vaughan brothers are not necessarily part of any Texas tradition. Here's Stevie Ray.

Stevie Ray: I think Jimmie more than myself, I think that uh...because of the records and...everything that Jimmie brought home...and...the...big switches that were going the music scene...when I started playin'...which is a little bit behind Jimmie, all the influences were so much more varied, you know, it use to be a more regional thing...all over the country, different regions got to be more of a...more like trading out information in a way, you know. When...when the...when the English blues boom scene came on...and...and then of course like the Beatles and the Stones and...and...the know that...that whole influence came in. I was getting all of that at the same time as Jimmie was bring home Muddy Waters and...Jimmy Reed and...B.B. King and...Buddy Guy, know, so it was, it was all kinda...I got all that at once...all those influences at once so it's not so much just a Texas thing.


Announcer: "Texas Flood" is the name of the song and the name of the album. Jimmie Vaughan is the name of this man.

Jimmie Vaughan: I taught him. I mean, I started playing first I was like, I'm like three years older than him. So I got a guitar and started playing and, started playing blues and bringing blues records home and, and as I would learn things he would be sittin' there. And I'd say, don't, you know, don't touch my guitar. Don't even think about it.

Announcer: Stevie Ray.

Stevie Ray: He definitely got me started. And then a...somewhere along the line...showed me that I was suppose to learn myself, (laughs) you know, and a...I'm glad he did, you know, he's...he's probably my biggest influence, for many reasons. Mainly because when he first started, I watched him a lot and was so easy for learn and pick up what he picked up...that it just didn't seem like it could be hard, you know. And that's... that's...that's like, you know, like I'm glad a bumble bee didn't know he can't fly? (laughs) It was kind of the same theory. (laughs)


Announcer: "Cold Shot" from Couldn't Stand The Weather by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. To say that Stevie Ray was a fan of Jimi Hendrix would be to say too little.

Stevie Ray: He just kind of...ripped it wide open, (laughs) you know?

Announcer: Stevie Ray rips it open next on part one of Media America's Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Up Close."

*Commercial Announcement*

Announcer: Welcome back to "Up Close"'s special tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Here's the man himself discussing one of his major influences James Marshall Hendrix.

Stevie Ray: He just kind of...ripped it wide open, (laughs) you know? And...where his ideas came from, I don't really know. He played the whole instrument, it wasn't just notes anymore. And he didn't necessarily stick to making your guitar have anything to do with a guitar, with the way he played it. In a very, in a very melodic way, and musical way, he seemed to ignore frets and things like that, you know (laughs) and uh, it turned, I don't know, he just turned it into something else.


Announcer: A remarkable cover of the Jimi Hendrix Experiences' "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)," performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble for the 1984 Couldn't Stand The Weather album. The group, named for a Otis Rush song, consisted, at that point, of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton.

Tommy Shannon: I was livin' in Houston and playin' around there...and I went in Rockefellers one night and they were playin'...and was like a revelation, it's like, you know, I thought that's where I wanna be right there, that's where I belong. And uh...I just went up and told Stevie that, you know, I wanna play with you. And I kept buggin' him, you know, and...I guess about a month later he finally gave me a call. But I, it's strange I knew exactly what I wanted to do there. And...and I really felt like that's where I belonged.

Chris Layton: Yeah, I felt the same way too. That's when I approached him. I said, 'hey man', I said, 'we could do some great things together.' Cause I could see obviously that this...that the band, I didn't think, was gonna really go anywhere cause there know, there was a, a serious problem and I thought I cure that.

Announcer: Another shot in the arm came shortly before the Soul To Soul album in 1985 when keyboardist Reese Wynans was added to the lineup.


Announcer: A soulful ditty "Look at Little Sister" from Soul To Soul. Stevie Ray and Double Trouble will be right back in concert and we're gonna be "Up Close". Stick with the Media America Radio Network.

*Commercial Announcements*

Announcer: Hi I'm Dan Neer. This is "Up Close". Back when Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were a struggling, young Austin band, they played a benefit concert put together by fellow Austintonian, flatlander Joe Ely. A video tape of their set got into the hands of Mick Jagger. Now I think it's safe to say that he knows a thing or two about how a blues-based rock band should sound. He hired the Texans to come to New York and play a party for the Stones at Danceateria. Chris Layton.

Chris Layton: That almost seemed, it almost seemed kinda like an, an audition...that we were, we were performing for...these, these few people just to see if they liked us and then they did and that was that. It was all over with. You know, it wasn't like, it's been brought out before like it was a big party that we did, The Rolling Stones were having a party and they really wanted us to play, and it's all and, it really wasn't any of that, you know. It's just like, (clears throat) "Yes, could you, could you get your guys to come up, we'd like to come check them out", you know, as opposed to sending, going to see us in just a club gig where they heard we were playing, it was like, yeah, we went up there and played and they was there and "uhm, they're very nice, nice to meet y'all, I'm so and so" and "you guys are very good and this is great, now we gotta run now and ah, we'll see you", you know, it's like, okay, then we went back to the hotel and the next morning we came home.


Announcer: "Superstition," part of the Live Alive CD in 1986. That same year with his drug and alcohol use escalating, Stevie Ray collapsed on stage. However, he cleaned up and in 1989 Stevie Ray and Double Trouble returned with a studio album called In Step. Here's Stevie Ray & Chris Layton.

Stevie Ray: I liked the record. We seemed to be...more in tune with each other -- with what we're doing. Ah, it's a better time for us...collectively and individually. Uh, we've all come out more in the a band and individually. And uh...I really feel good about the record. It was, it was difficult at times, we had different, different problems with amplifiers and different things, you know. Things that usually go wrong but they usually go wrong a little bit at a time (laughs) and for some reason every just, every, it was like Murphy's Law came in on my amplifiers.

Chris Layton: We had ah, we had a hum. There was a hum in the studio and we couldn't figure out the source of it and they had, all kinds of things had been tried to, to find where this hum was...

Stevie Ray: ...including like taking, including like cutting the power to the whole block. Not just the building but the block...

Chris Layton:, I mean, went to all these great lengths, and, and finally the only thing that worked at all was, somebody had the idea to fashion what looked like the backstop of a, of a baseball diamond, it looked like a birdcage that Stevie stood inside (Stevie laughs), and that, and there, and that way there wouldn't, the hum would be um, the hum would go away.


Announcer: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were definitely in sync for that In Step track, "Crossfire." Now we're going to step out for a moment but you can stick around. Make yourself at home.

*Commercial Announcements*

Announcer: Welcome back to Stevie Ray Vaughan "Up Close" on the Media America Radio Network. Jimmie Vaughan.

Jimmie Vaughan: (From the Tribute concert) Without this next guy...there wouldn't be any electric Blues as we know It wouldn't even be close because we're all trying to sound like him and still are, every one of us. So put your hands together for the great, the one and only, B. B. King!

B.B. King: Stevie had many ways of showing you that he uh...had not only talent but he had the feel for playing Blues. His hands, it was, it looked, seemed to be flawless the way he moved with it. ah...When I play, I play sort of like talkin', you know, you know syllables you...say a sentence here, a sentence there, know, then I've got to stop and think for something else keep my conversation going...but his didn't seem to be that at all, it was fluent it...he flowed when he played. ah...He could get something going and it, it was like a song and it would just go on and on and the ideas continuously flowed. I don't have that...and it's not a lot of people that I hear that do have it. Stevie had it.


Announcer: "Tightrope" from In Step. Next time on the conclusion of our tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, we'll hear more from the new tribute CD and more from Stevie Ray and his friends. Something like this:

Stevie Ray: I can't see tomorrow any better than anyone else, man. (laughs) I just hope that, that the music is know. I mean that doesn't mean it can't be fun doesn't mean that it should just be skimmed over and called the Blues because it's got three chords and it's in so and so key and it's this speed.


Announcer: 1-800-CALL-ATT presents "Up Close". Hi I'm Dan Neer. This week marks six years since the passing of the great guitarist Steve Ray Vaughan. Epic Records has just released A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan CD. It and the companion video document a Stevie Ray tribute concert held last year in Austin, Texas. One of the participants was Eric Clapton who recalls the first time he heard Stevie Ray.

Eric Clapton: I was in my car and I remember thinking, I have to find out, before the day is over, who that guitar player is. That doesn't happen to me very often, though I get that way about listening to music. I mean, about three or four times in my life I've felt that way in a car, listening to the radio, where I've stopped the car, pulled over and th...listened...and thought, I've got to find out before the end of the day, not, you know, sooner or later, but I have to know now who that is. And I remember being fascinated by the fact that he never, ever seemed to be...lost in any way. I uh, it was never, it took a...a...a breather...or it took...a pause to think where he was gonna go next, it just flowed out of him.

Announcer: We'll be back with the song Eric contributed to the concert and the CD in just a moment.

*Commercial Announcements*

Announcer: Welcome to Media America Radio's Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Up Close." Eric Clapton.

Eric Clapton: (From the Tribute concert) I wanna say what everyone else has said, which is, no more, no less, just that it's an honor to be asked to be here. It's a privilege and an honor to play in memory of Steve, who I didn't get to meet often enough or see play enough but every time I did it gave me chills and made me realize I was in the presence of greatness and uh...I miss him. So thank you for this.

"AIN'T GONE 'N GIVE UP ON LOVE" (Eric Clapton live Tribute performance)

Announcer: Eric Clapton's version of "Ain't Gone 'N Give Up On Love" from A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. The song first appeared on Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble's 1985 album, Soul to Soul. The group's last album together, In Step came out in 1989. For it, Stevie wrote "Wall of Denial" with Doyle Bramhall. At that time, he talked a little bit about the songwriting process.

Stevie Ray: During this album is the first time that I'd came about by collaborating with someone and you have to get together to do it. So that was about how much format we had. (laughs) We would get together and talk...and then ah...out of our conversations that could go, go as long as a couple of hours...those would tie together what we came to...would tie together a lot of the things we were writing about. So there's really not a formula other than try to, try to experience what, you know, try to put real experience in know, life experience.


Announcer: "Wall of Denial" from In Step. We're gonna step away for just a moment here, but we'll be right back with more of our tribute on Media America's Stevie Ray Vaughan "Up Close".

*Commercial Announcements*

Announcer: You're tuned to Media America Radio's award winning "Up Close" series. One day in 1990, Mama Vaughan came home early. (Intro from "BROTHERS", Brenda White-King: "What is that I hear?") It's the sound of Stevie Ray and Jimmie making an album together.

Stevie Ray: It's really fun because...for so long Jimmie had his band and I had ours, you know, and uh, it was kinda like, everybody wanted to know why we didn't play together. And Jimmie kind of put it like, it's kinda like having two organ players in a band, you know. Uh, but we'd always actually wanted to do we're getting to do it and it's, it's what's come, one thing that's come out of it that's real neat for me is that...I finally realized that ah we hadn't had this much fun or been around each other this much since we were little kids, you know. And sometimes that comes out...and it's like two kids in a car having fun and Mom's goin', you know making fun of Mom (laughs) you know, it's, I don't know, it's, it's, we had a lot of fun doing this thing.

Announcer: Jimmie Vaughan.

(Vocals from "BROTHERS", Brenda White-King: "That's your brother! Don't do that!")

Jimmie Vaughan: We knew that everybody expected us to come out doin' a...a Blues jam, double leads on everything and, and uh, you know, like a...gun fight at OK Corral, you know...and we didn't want to do that. We weren't interested in doing that. We wanted to play together and to make a...make our sound complement each other, you know, that was the whole thing. Even when we played together over the years, you know, at his gigs or at our gigs, we played together. I mean what, what good is it to get out there and know, if you want, if you want that out of guitar playin' you can, there's a lot of guys that will do that, you know. That just wasn't what we were into, you know?


Announcer: "Telephone Song" from the Vaughan Brothers' Family Style CD. Neither of the pickers could have known while they were making the album that before it saw the light of day Stevie would lose his life in a Wisconsin helicopter crash. Over the next year, Jimmie lovingly went through tapes Stevie had recorded but never released and he assembled a collection of 10 songs which became The Sky is Crying.

Jimmie Vaughan: At first when I started listening to all the stuff, I didn't really know whether there was even gonna be a record. I mean if there was enough suitable stuff for a studio record. Because from my experience with recordin', I've put out a few albums and you usually put out the stuff...that's good enough to put out. You put it out. You know, it's not, I don't know too many people that have...a lot of great stuff just sittin' around, you know. And he actually, I guess, you know, over the, over the years he a...just had extra stuff. I mean everybody has extra stuff but in your mind, when you put a record out, it's not the good stuff, you know what I'm sayin'? You put the good stuff out.


Announcer: From Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble we just heard an Elmore James tune called, "The Sky Is Crying". Elmore was just one of Stevie's influences.

Stevie Ray: I went through The Monkees...

Announcer: How was that again?

Stevie Ray: ...but The Monkees was before...the other hip stuff...

Announcer: What hip stuff?

Stevie Ray: ...Albert King, B. B. King, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, um...Lonnie Mack. At the same time as...Hendrix, Jeff Beck, The Who, Clapton, uh...Mayall, The Beatles. So I got this real interesting connection between the Blues masters from here and the, the English Blues boom and Rock & Roll kind of Rock & Roll, you know, meaning The Beatles.

Announcer: Here's New Orleans keyboard legend, Doctor John.

Doctor John: He had listened to a lot of styles of cats, I mean whether it's a Jimi Hendrix and...mixed up cat's stuff...that I don't think too many people had considered could be mixed up styles from way back in the game to stuff that...was like new and threw it all together and made somethin' new out of it. And that's what, that's how music grows, even when he did somethin' wrong, it led to something right.


Announcer: From Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble's The Sky Is Crying CD, we heard Willie Dixon's "Close To You".

Willie Dixon: Without the roots, it ain't no fruits.

Announcer: That's right Willie. And we'll be rooting around for some fruits to play next on Part Two of Media America Radio's Stevie Ray Vaughan "Up Close" tribute.

*Commercial Announcements*

Announcer: Welcome back to our very special tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. My name is Dan Neer. One of the pearls on The Sky Is Crying is a solo acoustic performance by Stevie Ray of "Life By The Drop" recorded during the In Step sessions. Here's Double Trouble's bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton.

Tommy Shannon: It meant a lot to Stevie, that song did, the lyrics...and I, I think it came out real good just doin' it acoustic.

Chris Layton: It just kinda brings a shouldn't really look at the lyrics kinda brings a, a thing about Stevie's life up full circle. And that's a good song between two people. It could also be the same two people in one man, and so I think it's a, a perfect song to end the record.


Announcer: Stevie Ray Vaughan's recording of "Life By The Drop" from The Sky Is Crying. Here's Stevie Ray's brother, Jimmie.

Jimmie Vaughan: When we'd be on tour together, I'd, every night I'd go out and watch him from backstage. If you're a, a guitar player or say a Jazz musician or any kind of musician that plays from the heart (pounds chest), that kind of music, it's like a radio, you gotta tune it in but once you get it on the just sort of receive it. He could go to that place...when he was playin' on stage...he would walk out on stage, pick up the guitar and...within a couple of songs he could just go to that place where he was receiving...his inspiration. And then it was just sort of, it would just sort of, take care of itself. That's not easy to do.

Jimmie Vaughan: (From the Tribute concert) We're gonna do a song Stevie sang, it was on Family Style. It's called "Tick Tock"...and you know how it goes.

"TICK TOCK" (live Tribute performance)

Announcer: A moving performance of "Tick Tock" from Jimmie Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, B. B. King, Buddy Guy, Doctor John and Art Neville along with Double Trouble and the Tilt-A-Whirl band. They all appear on A Tribute To Stevie Ray Vaughan. We'll be back to wrap up our own tribute right after this.

*Commercial Announcements*

Announcer: "Up Close" is back. Stevie Ray Vaughan will always be remembered for his exceptional virtuosity on the guitar. Those memories might have been different if not for big brother Jimmie.

Stevie Ray: When I saw how much fun he was havin' with it...and...there, I'm sure there was some, something to do with a...with big brother was doing, so little brother wanted to do it but at the same time it was really something that interested me. And...I saw how much fun he was havin'...learnin' and...and how much fun he was havin' just playin', you know. And was somethin' that I knew I wanted to try. There was one time when I got frustrated and put it down for a few of months but then, I got somethin' else I could play better and went for it, you know. And uh, it wasn't too long 'til I knew exactly what I wanted to do and that was it. And uh, like I said, I haven't had another job other than playin' music since...I was 12. I'm glad for that, I'm grateful for that fact.


Announcer: That's such a beautiful song. From In Step, that was "Riviera Paradise". We feel very fortunate to have been able to bring you this special two part tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan.