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With his astonishingly accomplished guitar playing, Stevie Ray Vaughan ignited the blues revival of the '80s. Vaughan drew equally from bluesmen like Albert King, Otis Rush and Hubert Sumlin and rock 'n' roll players like Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack, as well as the stray jazz guitarist like Kenny Burrell, developing a uniquely eclectic and fiery style that sounded like no other guitarist, regardless of genre.
The Sky Is Crying was released after SRV's 1990 helicopter crash that took his life. The posthumously assembled 10-track outtakes collection actually proves to be one of Vaughan's most consistent albums, rivaling In Step as the best outside of the Greatest Hits collection. These songs were recorded in sessions spanning from 1984's Couldn't Stand The Weather to 1989's In Step and were left off of the LPs for whatever reason (or, in the case of Soul To Soul's "Empty Arms", a different version was used).
What makes the record work is its eclectic diversity - Vaughan plays slide guitar on "Boot Hill" and acoustic on "Life By The Drop"; he smokes on the slow blues of "May I Have A Talk With You" and the title track just as much as on the up-tempo Lonnie Mack cover "Wham"; and he shows the jazzy side of his playing on Hendrix's "Little Wing" and Kenny Burrell's "Chitlins Con Carne".
Vaughan's jazz chops on Kenny Burrell's "Chitlins Con Carne" and Hendrix's "Little Wing" are arguably this collection's most staggering achievement, alternately whisper-sweet and screamingly fierce, says The Absolute Sound. Other tips of the hat are to Muddy Waters, Lonnie Mack ("Wham"), Elmore James and Albert King (the title track), yet each song is pure, unleashed SRV. The sound is big, bold, up front, and clean as a whistle. Vaughan's different tonal shadings - from warmly purring, to raggedly distorted, to wasp-tailed sting, plus a rare acoustic turn on the gorgeous closer, "Life By The Drop" - are all superbly captured, and the drums and bass have plenty of clarity and wallop. As TAS says, "A brilliant musical document...if a sad reminder."
Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound cut the lacquers for the LP using the ultimate VMS 80 cutting lathe. Gary Salstrom handled the plating and the vinyl was pressed, of course, at Quality Record Pressings.
There's not a link in this chain that wasn't absolute first-rate. The absolute best that money can buy. Analogue Productions is passionate about the blues AND Stevie Ray, and the passion shows up here in spades.
- 180g Vinyl
- Double LP
- Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound
- Plated & Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
- Deluxe Packaging
- Less Than 1000 Records Per Stamper, Released in Limited Quantities
- Boot Hill
- The Sky Is Crying
- Empty Arms
- Little Wing
- May I Have A Talk With You
- Close To You
- Chitlins Con Carne
- So Excited
- Life By The Drop