Couldn’t Stand the Weather

Stevie Ray Vaughan blew out of Texas in 1983 on the smoking debut, Texas Flood. Couldn’t Stand the Weather, released the following year, showed he and his band in full flight. He’d been at it since his early teens in Texas and against all odds hit the big time playing a style of music that had grown passe to many by the early 80s. But Stevie was an absolute TOTAL BELIEVER in the blues and in his own abilities to play them as well or better than anyone else and this conviction is what separated him from pretty much everybody. It didn’t hurt that he had completely awesome technique, incredibly strong hands, and a sound and tone like no one else. He also had a lot of help from his band, Double Trouble. Bass player Tommy Shannon was and is a blues legend in his own right having played with Johnny Winter in the 60s and with SRV during the length of his major-label career and drummer Chris Layton was and is a very tasteful, driving drummer and both of these guys complimented Stevie perfectly.

Couldn’t Stand the Weather has a great flow to it and surprisingly enough I like every song on here. But to be honest, I’ve never liked Stevie’s version of Voodoo Child, I think he could’ve picked another Hendrix cover, but I know hardly anyone else will agree with me. I love the butt-tearing opener Scuttle Buttin’ which is music for a fight in a hot bar in Texas on a Saturday night. Tin Pan Alley a nine-minute guitar-a-ganza was recorded in 1 take. It was also the first song recorded for the album so it was a precursor of things to come. Cold Shot is easily one of Stevie’s finest ballads and even though he didn’t write it, he definitely made it his own. Of the songs he did write, the title track and Stang’s Swang are my favorites. Both of these songs step clearly out of the standard blues form but are completely a part of who SRV was. I LOVE Stang’s Swang and the vibe and atmosphere the band creates. Couldn’t Stand the Weather is built around a funky intro riff and then chugs into overdrive with Stevie’s modern take on the blues as solace in a troubled world. Things I Used to Do is an old number that Stevie revitalized (much like Texas Flood from his first record) turning it into a popular concert favorite in the process. The expanded Legacy Edition contains an interview and 3 bonus tracks including Hideaway and Give Me Back My Wig.

The depth and breadth of this album scared a lot of guitar players and led to Stevie getting voted into top slots in the guitar magazine world. Not only was he a guy with chops, but he had incredible feel and could make his stuff work in a wide variety of musical styles. While it always came back to the blues, Stevie Ray was much more than a blues player and this record showed that he would be a man to be reckoned with until his untimely death in 1990 at the age of 35.