Jimmie Vaughan remains as one of the most understated blues guitarists plying his trade today. Heavily influenced by greats like B.B. and Freddy King, Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, and others, he has taken pages from all styles and combined them to concoct a fierce blend of music with straight blues at the core. His latest, "Do You Get The Blues," on Artemis Records, a new label for Jimmie, stands out as another highly personal work, just as "Out There" and "Strange Pleasure" had been. Surrounded by the Tilt-A-Whirl Band consisting of George Rains on drums and Bill Willis at the Hammond B-3 organ and bass pedals, Vaughan gets steady support and plenty of room for his cutthroat Stratocaster. Running time is about 55 minutes, production by Jimmie is both polished and raw at the same time, and the choice of material is granite solid.
The gates open up with "Dirty Girl," a storming double-shuffle written by Willis, and it's apparent right quick, that these guys mean business. Jimmie's thick-toned guitar plays a tandem line with Willis, as Rains hones in on the groove, and after stating the theme, Vaughan plays a typical, jagged solo with more space than a four-lane highway, offering great rhythm honks as Willis takes a ride. "Out Of The Shadows," with its stomping feel, offers superb lyrics by Greg Sain, who also co-wrote a handful of cuts with Jimmie, as well as holding down some of the background vocal chores, here with Lou Ann Barton, and elsewhere. "The Deep End" features Jimmie playing slide guitar, something he rarely does, and James Cotton's tasteful harp adds flavor. Lou Ann Barton, longtime Texas honey with the deliberate twang in her voice, steps up on "Power Of Love," a riveting slow blues with Jimmie doing the backup vocal, and Barton shows why she's regarded as on of the best female blues belters in the Lone Star State. Tyrone Vaughan, who rightly has a close relationship with Jimmie, co-wrote "Without You," and contributes second guitar behind a laconic vocal, while "Let Me In" sounds like it might have been something Jimmie's younger brother would have done with its solid rocking bottom. "Don't Let The Sun Set" rolls along a slow, funky groove, which would have been right at home on the "Family Style" CD, and "Robbin' Me Blind" returns to that opening double-shuffle pace with tight and restrained guitar from Mr. Vaughan, as Billy Horton steps up on the bass fiddle. "Slow Dance Blues," a behind-the-beat, slow instrumental, finds former Roomful Of Blues leader and sax player, Greg Piccolo, joining in for the after hours setting. Lou Ann Barton makes another appearance trading vocals with Jimmie on Johnny 'Guitar' Watson's "In The Middle Of The Night," which has the Double Trouble pairing of Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton laying the foundation, and the disc closes with "Planet Bongo," a tight and bizarre instrumental that makes lane changes without directionals.
So, to wrap up what Jimmie Vaughan has accomplished on his newest outing is simple; while he's one of the most-feared blues guitarists working today, his simplicity and focus on groove make him twice the danger most six-stringers wish they were. Jimmie's playing, from the early days with Kim Wilson in the Fabulous Thunderbirds, right through the here and now, has been one of the simplest, yet hardest to grasp styles on the scene. Vaughan's records could easily be vehicles for his titanic guitar-handling abilities, but he prefers to make musical statements that count for much more in the long run. www.jimmievaughan.com offers plenty of fun and information, and one of the finest car collections around, and the label website is: www.artemisrecords.com.
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