This month the Texan pow­er­house re­spon­si­ble for kick-start­ing the blues-rock re­nais­sance of the early 1980s comes un­der the Les David­son spot­light.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Les David­son brings you two full so­los in the style of Texas blues le­gend Ste­vie Ray Vaughan.

Stephen Ray Vaughan’s en­er­getic, pas­sion­ate ap­proach to the blues ig­nited the genre dur­ing the 1980s. His fiery style gained him no­to­ri­ety at the Mon­treux Jazz Fes­ti­val in 1982, and his de­but al­bum, Texas Flood, the following year was a huge com­mer­cial suc­cess sell­ing over half a mil­lion copies. As much as his star shone brightly it was sadly short lived as he was killed in a post-gig he­li­copter crash, aged just 35.

Ste­vie was born in 1954 and raised in Dal­las, Texas. He got his first gui­tar when he was seven years old, find­ing in­spi­ra­tion close to home with his older brother Jim­mie (The Fabulous Thun­der­birds). Ste­vie was a quick learner and by 1971 he had moved to Austin, Texas and started to gig with lo­cal bands. He cites in­flu­ences from that time as Al­bert King, Jimmy Reed, Lon­nie Mack, Jimi Hen­drix, Wes Mont­gomery, Django Rein­hardt, Al­bert Collins and Buddy Guy.

Af­ter work­ing with lo­cal bands and mak­ing a name as a hot blues player Ste­vie formed his own band, Triple Threat, who were to be­come Dou­ble Trou­ble. As Ste­vie’s work sched­ule with Dou­ble Trou­ble was soar­ing, gig­ging across the US and abroad, it was his play­ing on David Bowie’s mas­sive hit Let’s Dance that brought Ste­vie to mass com­mer­cial at­ten­tion. While his sec­ond re­lease, Couldn’t Stand The Weather went gold, he was awarded a Grammy for his In Step al­bum.

On Au­gust 26, af­ter per­form­ing a show with Eric Clap­ton in Win­scon­sin, Steve boarded a he­li­copter with three of Clap­ton’s en­tourage. In foggy con­di­tions, the he­li­copter flew into a nearby hill shortly af­ter take-off, killing all on­board. In April 2016, Dal­las City Coun­cil ap­proved a sculp­ture of both the Vaughan broth­ers to be erected as tes­ta­ment to Ste­vie’s mu­sic and legacy. I’m in reg­u­lar tun­ing for both these

Eb ex­am­ples. Ste­vie used to drop his tun­ing to and use heavy strings, usu­ally 13s. He used real mus­cle in his play­ing so make ev­ery note count. A great way to prac­tise this is to play as loud as you can on an un­plugged elec­tric.

NEXT MONTH Les gets into the bluesy side of Deep Pur­ple and Rain­bow’s Ritchie Black­more


Ste­vie Ray Vaughan kick­started the Strat-led 1980s blues rev­olul­tion

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