November 21, 2000
Pop/Rock, Texas Blues, Regional Blues, Electric Blues, Modern Electric Blues, Modern Electric Texas Blues, Electric Texas Blues, Guitar Virtuoso, Album Rock, Blues-Rock

Album Review

If you're gonna put out a box set that really offers something to the devoted fans of an artist -- who are, after all, probably bound to have much or all of the artist's other records already if they're interesting in buying a box set to begin with -- this four-CD package is the way to do it. It's not so much a best-of or career retrospective as a very generous pile of career-spanning material that will genuinely add a new dimension to the Stevie Ray Vaughan listener's library, as fully two-thirds of the 54 tracks were previously unreleased. In addition, of the songs that have been previously available, five of those are cuts on which Vaughan was a sideman or partner (for Johnny Copeland, Albert King, Lonnie Mack, A.C. Reed, and as part of the Vaughan Brothers), so the Vaughan collector might have missed those in the past. Each of the first three discs clock in at more than 75 minutes, progressing from 1977 to 1990 and emphasizing live material, from soundchecks and radio programs to arena-headlining gigs and three solo acoustic tunes (one of which was previously on The Unplugged Collection, Vol. 1) from a 1990 MTV Unplugged episode. As music, though, it's uneven. The earliest and leanest cuts are a valuable supplement to Vaughan's discography, since he didn't have much opportunity to record until the early '80s. Yet sometimes these are too-long shuffles and boogies; his songwriting and singing is not nearly as impressive as his instrumental technique; and his occasional attempts to replicate Jimi Hendrix are inessential. A few familiar popular studio cuts like "Pride and Joy" and "Wall of Denial" are here, presumably to entertain the more casual Vaughan fans who need an extra push to spring for the box. More rabid Vaughan followers will likely be so overwhelmed by the quantity of unreleased items that they're unlikely to quibble about the presence of tracks they already own. The fourth disc is a DVD with five never-aired and never-issued performances from an episode of the television program Austin City Limits, recorded on October 10, 1989; the 72-page booklet of essays, appreciative quotes from several dozen peers, and more are other bonuses.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Thunderbird [#]
  2. I'm Cryin' [#]
  3. You're Gonna Miss Me Baby [#]
  4. They Call Me Guitar Hurricane [Live]
  5. All Your Love (I Miss Loving) [Live]
  6. Come on, Pt. 3 [#]
  7. Letter to My Girlfriend [#]
  8. Lenny [#]
  9. Don't Lose Your Cool [Live][#]
  10. Crosscut Saw [Live][#]
  11. Manic Depression [Live][#]
  12. Texas Flood [Live]
  13. Collins Shuffle [Live][#]
  14. Pride and Joy
  15. Love Struck Baby [Live][#]
  16. Hug You, Squeeze You [Live]
  17. Don't Stop by the Creek, Son
  18. Ask Me No Questions
  19. Scuttle Buttin'
  20. Couldn't Stand the Weather
  21. Empty Arms
  22. Little Wing/Third Stone from the Sun [Live][#]
  23. If You Have to Know
  24. These Blues Is Killing Me
  25. Boilermaker [#]
  26. Change It
  27. Shake 'N Bake [#]
  28. Mary Had a Little Lamb [Live]
  29. I'm Leavin' You (Commit a Crime) [Live][#]
  30. Rude Mood/Pipeline [Live][#]
  31. The Sky Is Crying [Live][#]
  32. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) [Live][#]
  33. Lookin' Out the Window [Live][#]
  34. Look at Little Sister [Live][#]
  35. Willie the Wimp [Live][#]
  36. The House Is Rockin'
  37. Crossfire [Live][#]
  38. Wall of Denial
  39. Dirty Pool [#]
  40. Going Down [Live][#]
  41. Rude Mood [Live][#]
  42. Pride and Joy [Live]
  43. Testify [Live][#]
  44. Long Way From Home
  45. Tightrope [Live][#]
  46. Cold Shot [Live][#]
  47. The Things (That) I Used to Do [Live]
  48. Let Me Love You Baby [Live]
  49. Leave My Girl Alone [Live]