On October 4, 1984, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble played a benefit concert for the T.J. Martell Foundation at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was the day after Stevie’s thirtieth birthday, and the trio from Texas was at the pinnacle of their career. The concert went on to be known as one of Stevie’s greatest ever, and the album reflects that feeling well.
After an introduction by John Hammond, who brought blues to Carnegie Hall in the 1930s, the band rips off into “Scuttle Buttin’” and “Testifyin’,” two fast instrumental pieces that are perfect examples of Stevie’s incredible talent with the guitar. The band then does three blues classics, “Love Struck Baby,” “Honey Bee,” and the down and dirty “Cold Shot” before going to a break.
After the break, the band returns with a few old friends. Stevie and Double Trouble are joined by Dr. John on piano, George Rains as a second drummer, the entire Roomful of Blues horn section, and Jimmie Vaughn, Stevie’s older brother, on guitar.
The show suddenly takes on a big band feel, with Stevie’s guitar work complemented by the piano and horns. This large group does six songs with Stevie, including Stevie’s signature tune “Pride and Joy,” the Albert King classic “C.O.D,” and “Dirty Pool,” a mean song that exemplifies the heart of Southern blues.
Then the show ends with Stevie alone on stage. He performs two instrumentals, including the slow and moving “Lenny,” a song dedicated to his wife, and the rip-roaring “Rude Mood.” It is a fitting end to one of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s greatest concerts ever, which has become a landmark in the history of the blues. The album is incredible, an essential for any blues collection
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