Picks and Pans Review: Live at Carnegie Hall
In 1984 the late Stevie Ray Vaughan brought his electric guitar and Texas roadhouse music to Carnegie Hall, more normally home to the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman. To celebrate the event, one of only a few blues shows at New York City's famed concert hall since 1938's groundbreaking From Spirituals to Swing concert, he augmented his power trio with a horn section, a second drummer, a second guitarist (brother Jimmie) and a keyboardist (Dr. John).
The result was a fuller, richer sound and a radical alteration of the guitarist's style. Given the luxury of not having to carry every tune himself, he laid back and concentrated on single-note leads, engaging the keyboards and horns in call-and-response passages and playing off his brother with graceful ease. The results are particularly memorable on slow, gritty blues like "Dirty Pool" and "The Things That I Used to Do," and the versions here immediately enter the canon of SRV's essential music. When the last notes fade away and Vaughan thanks the roaring crowd, the listener is left both exhilarated and unbearably sad, forced once again to realize just how much great music was lost with the guitarist's 1990 death. (Epic)