When Stevie Ray Vaughan died in August 1990, a musical talent of
surpassing brilliance was transformed into legend. While those of us who loved
his music can only fantasize about where he might have taken us with his
unearthly ability, there can be little doubt that his music at the time of his
death was the best he had ever made. His future, along with those of his
bandmates in Double Trouble, was as close to a lock cinch as there was in the
business. It is difficult to overestimate the sense of loss and displacement
that Stevie Ray's death must have been to those who shared his stage and place
in the light. Difficult, too, to try to predict how they might fare in putting
the pieces back together without him.
There are many of us who find in music the power to heal and soothe. A
wonderful new CD by Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon and percussionist
Chris Layton, "Been a Long Time," is a bracing example of that power. Along
with fellow Double Trouble collaborators, keyboardist Reese Wynans and
singer-songwriter Doyle Bramhall II, we are treated here to an invigorating
blend of blues, R&B and rock from some folks who obviously have paid their dues
and have emerged with spirit very much intact.
Double Trouble here takes a familiar place for them, namely in the
background while a coterie of famous and almost famous friends such as Dr.
John, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Susan Tedeschi, Willie Nelson, Charlie
Sexton and Lou Ann Barton, among others, take center stage. Nevertheless,
Double Trouble has song-writing credits on 6 of the 10 cuts, and there clearly
is not a throw-away in the mix.
When Malford Milligan pleads for healing on the opening song, Cry Sky,
"I've lost many things I have always loved; Just let your big waters fall;
'till I make sense of it all", there is the expectation that redemption lies
in wait if only we can hang on through the pain. When Susan Tedeschi
celebrates being In the Garden, "No fire can ever harm us; Only music fills the
air", we know that the music has delivered. Double Trouble has delivered a good
one for all of us.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Jim Anderson, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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