I've heard about Javier Vargas for a few years now, and my first real introduction to him was a live CD that I was able to obtain a couple months back. Since then I've been able to locate several other CD's that's he's recorded over the last few years. Being that he lives in Spain, and most of his CD's are normally only available outside the United States makes finding his material somewhat difficult. "Texas Tango" was recorded in Memphis, Tennessee and Madrid with musicians from both sides of the Atlantic. The CD was also produced by Jim Gaines who's resume reads like a 'Who's Who' of the blues. Add to all that, the appearance of Double Trouble (Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton from Stevie Ray Vaughn fame), you have the potential of a really great CD. Javier Vargas appreciates the blues and on this CD, Texas blues. You can tell by the way he pays tribute to the style while adding to the genre with some really good original music.
The CD opens with 'Rose On The Water' which is a heavy riff blues with some Hendrixy lead guitar work. 'Blues Pilgrimage' sounds like a Texas version of a John Lee Hooker styled song. Basic John Lee Hooker rhythm with some Jimmy Vaughn styled licks thrown in for good measure. Double Trouble shows up for the first time on the title cut 'Texas Tango' along with Larry Thurston on vocals. This song has a Fabulous T-Birds sound to it except a little heavier musically. 'Love Ain't Got Nowhere To Go' drops down the speed but maintains some decent intense guitar work. Think 'Texas Flood' or similar styles. 'Ride Baby Ride' leans towards Chuck Berry territory with a good dose of SRV's 'This House is Rockin'. 'Black Cat Boogie' is just that.....a boogie beat that harkens to 'Green Onions' but with vocals and some serious guitar attitude. 'Buenos Aires Blues' is the one track that has a Spanish flavor to it. Vargas is not a one trick pony and can mix different styles together or totally go from one to another with ease. It's a medium tempo instrumental which has a little bit of a Carlos Santana vibe to it. Double Trouble shows up for the final time on the closing track of the CD. 'Blood Shot' is another slows blues, again in the tradition of 'Texas Flood'. Preston Shannon does the vocal duties here.
Bottom Line: This CD is solid Texas blues through most of the thirteen tracks. If you like guitar based blues, like I do, then you should really enjoy this CD. There's a fairly good range of styles and the vocals, production and musicianship are excellent throughout. I wish Javier Vargas's CD's were more available here in the United States. There's some really great musicians outside the United States that we never hear about. Javier Vargas is one of them. I think this CD is a keeper and give it four out of five stars.
Javier Vargas - electric guitar
Jeff Espinoza - vocals
Musicians in Austin Texas:
Chris Layton - Drums
Tommy Shannon - Bass
Earnest Williamson - keyboards
Preston Shannon - guitar solos/vocals
Larry T. Thurston - vocals
Musicians in Madrid:
Tino Di Geraldo - drums
Jose Vera - Bass
Jorge Lema - Bandoneon
Alfonso Perez - keyboards
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