Les Davidson examines a blues player who’s tasteful, restrained and the real deal – the one and only Texan Titan, Jimmie Vaughan.
Jimmie Vaughan was raised in Oak Cliff, just south of Dallas, Texas and has been a mainstay on the blues scene for more than 40 years. his distinctive guitar playing and singing style has remained true to the legacy of the blues. along with his late younger brother stevie Ray, he has been a major force in the revival of the blues since the ‘British invasion’ of the 1960s.
Jimmie is best known for his work with The Fabulous Thunderbirds. The band’s first four albums, released between 1979 and 1983, are considered to be classic ‘modern Blues’ recordings but the big success came when the Thunderbirds scored a top ten us hit in 1986 with the title track from their Tuff enough album.
Jimmie finally left the Thunderbirds in 1989 to pursue a solo career.
Jimmie and his younger brother stevie Ray also made an album together called Family style, which was released after stevie’s death in 1990. Jimmie also released two solo albums, strange Pleasure (1994) and Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites (2010). he has been a guest on records by BB King, santana and Don henley, and has also supported eric Clapton and been a guest at Clapton’s’ Crossroads Festival. Take time to build up the necessary stamina and articulation but in Jimmie’s case its also about the time, taste and groove. as with many blues greats - you can always hear a bit of T-Bone walker in his playing - Jimmie tends to play behind the beat. he can often be seen using a capo, depending on the key of the song, to keep open strings available to him. i haven’t used a capo for our examples but both of them make good use of open strings.
There are many ways to build up to the required tempo but for these examples, as they are not overly fast or frantic, i’d suggest you attempt to play them at full tempo, even if you can only manage the first couple of bars at first. This way we’re making progress by expanding the duration of an idea rather than playing an entire phrase at a fraction of the desired speed.
Picking is down up down up unless otherwise stated but Jimmie sometimes uses just his first and second fingers in upstrokes to get the authentic tone of the blues masters .
Jimmie Vaughan playing a classic two-tone Strat