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November 2001

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Jimmie Vaughan
Do You Get The Blues?

Two of our Blues Bytes reviewers have reviewed this CD, so be sure to read both writers' opinions:Jimmie Vaughan

In recent years, Jimmie Vaughan has been kept very busy with various projects related to his deceased brother Stevie Ray, including the tedious selection process of listening to many hours of live music before coming up with some choice pickings on the definitive SRV box set. Maybe because of that, it seems like it's been ages since his last record came out. (Actually, Out There was released in 1998). 

Well, the older Vaughan sibling waited just long enough. Do You Get the Blues? (Artemis Records) offers plenty of good singing and guitar playing, and should please his fans … and his brother's. Of course, there's a family thing at play, but Jimmie has never sounded so eerily like Stevie as he does on "Out of the Shadows," the second track on the album (after the organ-fueled instrumental "Dirty Girl"). 

Elsewhere, the twang in his guitar and his predilection for smooth romantic ambiances (hey, there's a flute on "Don't Let the Sun Set," and also, but this time uncredited, on the final track, "Planet Bongo") make him stand out of his brother's shadow. 

All in all, this is a nice record from a mature Vaughan, who's lost (or is unwilling to put forth) the wicked, out-of-control bent of his youth. With B-3 master Bill Willis laying the bottom (Vaughan normally doesn't use a bassist) and George Rains at the traps, Vaughan mostly goes for a smooth groovy feel, with another instrumental, "Slow Dance Blues" (featuring Greg Piccolo's sax) almost sounding like some vintage '60s soul jazz masterpiece. 

If there's a weakness to this album, it is to be found in the songwriting, which don't go past the frontiers of cliché-land very often. Interestingly, the Lou Ann Barton duet, "In the Middle of the Night," is reprised here (from Double Trouble's Been a Long Time); it is the exact same version, credited here to producers Charlie Sexton and Double Trouble, whereas on Double Trouble's disc it was credited to producer Jimmie Vaughan! I suppose everyone was feeling mighty generous.

--- Benoît Brière

I had no idea that Jimmie Vaughan had a new album out until I happened to stumble across it in a record store. Did I miss a press release somewhere along the line or something? Or was this one just put out sort of quietly? Whatever the case may be, this is one hell of a blues record. The latest from a classy guitar player who has few peers, asks the question Do You Get The Blues? (Artemis) as its title. The answer to that question lies within the contents of this amazing recording, I feel. Because if even the most skeptical of music lovers can't dig the blues after listening to this one then, they most likely are devout fans of polka music (no offense to fans of polka, OK?). 

Mr. Vaughan has weaved together a very fascinating album that is so easy to listen to, due to its super smooth production and Vaughan's educated ear for making great music. The overall style and feel to this album is a blend of twanging Texas blues, crossed with a greasy Memphis funk, that is spread generously throughout, but especially on the album's first two cuts. 

The instrumental "Dirty Girl" starts things off with Vaughan exchanging riffs with the completely funky B-3 of Bill Willis before slipping easily into the first vocal number, "Out Of The Shadows," that features some tasty soloing from Jimmie and finds the sensational pipes of Ms. LouAnn Barton helping out on background vocals. Barton steps up to the mic to unleash her magnificent voice on "Power Of Love," and is joined by Double Trouble's Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton for a fine cover of Johnny Watson's "In The Middle Of The Night." Why this intense singer is not recording these days is beyond comprehension, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a new release. 

Vaughan struts his stuff slide-wise on the rhythmic groove "The Deep End," with the chugging harp work you'll hear courtesy of James Cotton. Mellowing things out is "Don't Let The Sun Set," a last chance plea for salvaging a relationship that is highlighted by some of Vaughan's finest picking and a soothing flute accompaniment. "Robbin' Me Blind" kicks things back up a notch before segueing into the aptly titled "Slow Dance Blues," highlighted by the sensual tenor sax of Austin session great Greg Piccolo. 

Wrapping things up is "Planet Bongo," a sort of jazzy interlude that closes things out on the slightly subdued side. Jimmie keeps things on a pretty steady and even keel throughout the album's eleven selections. He never really gets too electric with screaming solos or wailing runs, instead falling back on his expert knowledge of tone and chording to more than get the job done. 

Overall, this is the type of album that sort of sneaks into your senses and surprises you with how good it actually is instead of flooring you upon first listen. 

Do You Get The Blues? is an appropriately titled album. To answer that question, I can honestly say ... I got it and so should you, lest you miss out on an elegant release.

--- Steve Hinrichsen

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