Picks and Pans Review: In Step

updated 07/24/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/24/1989 01:00AM

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

No one has ever questioned Vaughan's bluesy brilliance, but until now he has never come up with a truly satisfying album. His guitar artistry would be heaped on prodigiously but without effective structure. Listening to Stevie Ray albums was like trying to get comfortable on a sprung old couch with the padding bulging out.

Vaughan's playing on In Step, however, is framed by tight, punchy tunes reminiscent of his brother's group, the Fabulous Thunderbirds. The results are splendid, whether on the solid-core boogie-woogie of "The House Is Rockin' " or the rocking rumble of "Love Me Darlin'." Of course this Texas picker's forte is the blues, and here he takes them both slow ("Leave My Girl Alone") and full tilt ("Let Me Love You Baby"). If the apocryphal Johnny B. Goode played the guitar like ringing a bell, Vaughan plays with enough heat to forge one of his own. (Epic)

ANDERSON, BRUFORD, WAKEMAN, HOWE

First things first. Let's take care of those niggling organizational problems. These guys—Jon, Bill, Rick and Steve by first names—were members of the old art-rock group Yes from the '70s, but no, they can't call themselves Yes, because four other old Yes-men own the rights to the group name. As far as the music goes, it's almost as boring as those pesky details. The toothless foursome flail around for almost an hour, trying to recapture some of their old glory.

There's hardly a cohesive song, but with such titles as "Themes" and "Quartet," we're not talking dance hits either. "Brother of Mine" does show signs of going somewhere. But it's only a respite from the mindless meanderings that smother the album like oozing mud. Yes fans are urged to put on the band's 1972 album Close to the Edge and recall them as they were. No matter what A.B.W.H. call themselves now, the end result is tedious. (Arista)

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