Couldn't Stand The Weather
Epic Records, 1984
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/05/1998
It has often been said that some of the guitar sounds that the late Jimi Hendrix wrenched out of his Stratocaster will never be able to be reproduced. If this is truly the case, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan showed he could come real close to doing so.
On his second effort with his backing band Double Trouble, Couldn't Stand The Weather, Vaughan demonstrates prowess in blues, rock and jazz, all without losing sight of the big picture in front of him. And had this album had a little more soul at times (and had been a tad longer), it would have been perfect.
Vaughan pays tribute to Hendrix with his cover of "Voodoo Chile
(Slight Return)", a cover which damn near matches the original to
the "T". Vaughan's vocals, for this particular song, aren't a
perfect match, but his playing mixes equal parts of his own style
and Hendrix's to create a version which even the diehard Hendrix
fans should approve of.
But Vaughan is no mere copycat; he proves early and often he is a talented guitarist who can hold his own ground. The opening instrumental "Scuttle Buttin'" throws Vaughan and Double Trouble into the boogie groove set at "high," and refuses to let up for a minute. Of the two better-known tracks on this one, the title track is the one to make sure you don't miss. Vaughan quite possibly was one of the last masters of the Stratocaster; he puts this thing through the musical version of boot camp, never failing to make each note sound sweet and cherished.
As for "Cold Shot," I've never really been a fan of this track, even though it's executed well. I don't know, I guess I wasn't a big fan of Vaughan doing plodding blues. But, hey - to each his or her own. If you like it, more power to you.
The biggest gripe I have with Couldn't Stand The Weather is it seems, at times, emotionless. "The Things (That) I Used To Do" should be a weeping blues number, but Vaughan, for reasons unknown, fails to capture the emotion the track requires. Two other songs, "Tin Pan Alley" and "Honey Bee," are nice enough, but they don't have the kind of energy that some of the other tracks have - and in these cases, it seems like they needed it.
Vaughan tips his hat to jazz at the end with "Stang's Swang," a number which almost made me wish that Vaughan had done more experimenting with this style of music prior to his tragic death in 1990. It's further proof that Vaughan could control his instrument and make it produce whatever sound he wanted out of it - especially from a guitar that some consider one of the more difficult to play and master.
With only eight songs on this one, I kind of wish that Vaughan had thrown some more material on Couldn't Stand The Weather; it seems rather anti-climactic when the last notes fade out. And, like many fans of Vaughan's, I'm constantly waiting for new material to come out - even though the voice has been long silent.
Even without the full passion I would have liked to have heard from this one, Couldn't Stand The Weather is a fine addition to anyone's collection. My forecast for the album: Partly sunny, with occasionall clouds, but a nice day overall.
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