I love the public library. I stopped in last week looking to read all the magazines I love to read – for free, of course. When I passed the sections of shelves where they keep all the DVDs, audio books and CDs, I shuffled through a few and came across Jimmie Vaughan’s latest album titled, Plays More Blues, Ballads and Favorites , a follow up from a previous album with the same theme. I had seen Jimmie, along with his usual singing partner, Lou Ann Barton, at the Houston iFest back in May of 2011 but I hadn’t heard the album. I checked it out and brought it home to play for the first time.
The live performance was what I’ll call trashy, and the studio recording of this cd is no improvement from that. And that’s a good thing! That’s because Jimmie has always had a Texas roadhouse, blown amp speaker, beer-sticky floor kind of sound. He plinks away on his guitar without any excuse for its screechy-ness, and sings as off key as the drunken wenches at the blues joint. Raw as it sounds, it’s got great depth with the addition of a baritone sax and the voice of Lou Ann. Not that Lou Ann cleans anything up either. She just drags on her cigarette and ‘sangs in her twangy voice’. The first time I saw her years ago, she reminded me of Popeye’s girlfriend gone bad. She was Olive Oil, after a hard life smoking and drinking. She was pencil thin, a cigarette sticking out of her lips and smoke drifting up make her eyes burn while she sang out of the side of her mouth, ‘You can have my husband but please don’t mess with my man…”. I loved her immediately.
The whole album is fun and it’s a real taste of the music I’ve been lucky enough to hear, hanging out at blues joints over the last 30 years down here in the Houston area. Jimmie struggles to hit a note on key but does a great job picking away at that guitar. Lou Ann keeps her beaten down but still biting back attitude going strong, and the rest of the musicians just play because they love this music.
Take a listen to some real good music!