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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label SRV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SRV. Show all posts

Monday, July 23, 2012

What I Say - Stevie Ray Vaughan And The Fabulous Thunderbirds

For over 30 years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group's distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as "Tuff Enuff" and "Wrap It Up". Co-founder Kim Wilson, the sole original member, still spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation.

"We started as a straight blues band", vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. "We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We're an American music band and we're much higher energy than we were before."

Fabulous Thunderbirds with Stand Up BassIn addition to Wilson, the current Thunderbirds line-up features Jay Moeller on drums, Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller on guitar, and Randy Bermudes on bass.

"To be in the T-Birds, you need to understand the different styles of music and different ways of playing," Wilson comments. "You have to be willing to adopt a more contemporary style. The guys we have now are able to do that."

The band continues to tour extensively, in both the U.S. and Europe. Wilson is currently writing songs on his own, with band members and other writers.

"I've primarily been a solo songwriter, but I'm looking forward to experimenting with the guys in the band," Wilson says.

The thread throughout the T-Birds career has been the respect the group commanded for its peerless musicianship and devotion to the sounds of blues, R & B and rock 'n roll. In fact, Muddy Waters called Wilson his favorite harmonica player and vocalist. "Muddy Waters was very good to me," Wilson says. "He almost adopted me. I'll never forget him."

For Kim Wilson, the musical journey started in Goleta, California. At 17 he began playing the harmonica. His influences included Little Walter, George "Harmonica" Smith, Lazy Lester and James Cotton. At the same time, Wilson began singing and was deeply impacted by Bobby "Blue" Bland, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rodgers and Muddy Waters. In search of other musicians who shared his love of the blues, Wilson headed to Minneapolis. He stayed there for a year and a half, playing locally, before moving to the burgeoning music scene of Austin, Texas. It was there that he met Jimmie Vaughan and they founded the T-Birds in 1974. The band developed a reputation as a compelling live act and subsequently signed a record deal with CBS/Epic Records.

In 1979, The Fabulous Thunderbirds released their first self-titled album. Primarily blues influenced, it became a cult classic. "Things were wide open back then," Wilson recalls. "There were hundreds of stages where bands could show what they had."

Fabulous Thunderbirds B&WIn subsequent releases, the band started to incorporate more Cajun, rock 'n roll and soul influences. The album "T-Bird Rhythm" marked a creative turning point for the group as it collaborated with noted producer Nick Lowe. In 1986, The Fabulous Thunderbirds reached a commercial peak with the album, "Tuff Enuff". The single of the same title as well as the singles "Wrap It Up" and "Look At That", all went top 40. The song, "Tuff Enuff" was featured in the film "Gung Ho" starring Michael Keaton.

For the remainder of the '80s, the band continued to record and tour, and released the album, "Powerful Stuff". Jimmie Vaughn left in 1989 but Wilson kept the group going, incorporating keyboards into the guitar-driven sound. Kim moved back to California in 1996, continuing to cultivate the T-Birds music.

As a side project Wilson formed Kim Wilson's Blues Revue, a traditional blues band. He also owns a blues label, Blue Collar Music, that has released three albums - one by Kim, one by "Big Al" Blake and one by Fred Kaplan. Wilson has also recorded and written with noted session guitarist Danny Kortchmar and drummer Steve Jordan and may tour with them at some point. However his current focus remains The Fabulous Thunderbirds. "This is a great time for this band," he says. "We're looking forward to the future
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bernard Allison

Bernard Allison (born November 26, 1965, Chicago, Illinois) is a blues guitarist based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

His father, Luther Allison was a Chicago blues musician. Bernard Allison is the youngest of nine children, and had many different musical influences while growing up, including Albert King, Muddy Waters and Freddie King, and later, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oreo Cookie Blues - Lonnie mack with SRV

If you've never seen Stevie Ray play acoustic slide and you don't know Lonnie Mack this will be a double treat. I know I really enjoy it.

Lonnie Mack (born Lonnie McIntosh, 18 July 1941, Dearborn County, Indiana) is an American rock and blues guitarist/vocalist.

In 1963 and early 1964, he recorded a succession of full-length electric guitar instrumentals which combined blues stylism with fast-picking techniques and a rock 'n' roll beat. The best-known of these are "Memphis", "Wham!", "Chicken Pickin'" and "Suzie-Q". These instrumentals established the standard of virtuosity for a generation of rock guitarists and formed the leading edge of the "blues-rock" guitar genre. Reportedly, the tremolo arm commonly found on electric guitars became known as the "whammy bar", following Mack's singularly aggressive use of the device in 1963's "Wham!".

In 1979, music historian Richard T. Pinnell, Ph. D., called 1963's "Memphis" a "milestone of early rock guitar". In 1980, the editors of Guitar World magazine ranked "Memphis" first among rock's top five "landmark" guitar recordings.

Mack is also renowned for his early "blue-eyed soul" ballads. Crediting both Mack's R&B vocals and his guitar solos, music critic Jimmy Guterman ranked Mack's first album, 1963's The Wham of that Memphis Man!, No. 16 in his book The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time.

Mack released several singles in the '50s and '60s, as well as thirteen original albums spanning a variety of genres between 1963 and 1990. He enjoyed his greatest recognition as a blues-rock performer, with productive periods during the '60s and the latter half of the '80s. However, an aversion to notoriety led him to switch musical genres and sporadically withdraw from the public eye for years at a time. Despite a modest all-career recording output as a rock artist, he is widely regarded today as "one of the great rock guitarists of all-time", as well as an innovative and pivotal figure in expanding the role of the electric guitar in rock.

Beyond his career as a solo artist, Mack recorded with The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown, Freddie King, Joe Simon, Ronnie Hawkins, Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan, Dobie Gray and the sons of blues legend Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, among others.
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

How'd He Get That Sound

Stevie Ray Vaughn has always been known as one of the best tone masters of all time. Oh yeah, we all know he was terrific guitar player and soulful singer. His chops were terrific... but how did he get that tone. Well, he started out with being a great player and having great fingers, but here are a few of his secrets. He was known to superglue skin from other parts of his body to replenish his fingertips from the tremendous abuse that he took using super heavy strings (like 15's). I wouldn't advise this unless you have developed great style and hand strength. Better to play with 10's and clean than with 12's and sloppy. He had a great guitar, a standard Fender strat pretty much totally unmolested (except that he had a left handed trem bar put on with the theory that it gave him a Jimi vibe to his sound)although not used in this video. He could pick up any strat at guitar center and make it sound right. It just wouldn't feel right to him. All players are like that... and they hear subtle differences that we would never pick up. He played primarily through Fender Vibroverbs, Vibrolux's and Super Reverbs, both black and silver faced. It was with these amps that he got the beautiful full clean tube overdriven tone and dynamic tremolo that made his sound. Play one of the amps if you're a player. And don't be fooled into thinking that the new ones are just as good. They aren't. Get one of the old hand wired silver face or black face (or tweed if you got the dough) and give them a shot. Stevie used a silver face Super Reverb extensively as well as a brownface Vibroverb. The Vibroverbs are now over the top but you can still get the silverface AB763 amps pretty cheap... and they sound great. That 40 Watts into 4-10" stock speakers (Jensen, Oxford or CTS) can make magic even an amateur can really appreciate... immediately!
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