Willie the Wimp
(ra-file, 1 meg)
Back in time: An article from Guitar World 1985
Something was up.
Vaughan grinned mischievously, and talk moved in other directions. He
was sitting in the dim corner of a lounge in a pleasant North Dallas hotel,
waiting to leave for the studio where Soul To Soul was coming down the
It is understood by many who know him that Stevie Ray Vaughan was at
first uncomfortable with his sudden success, perhaps a bit bewildered by it -
and not entirely prepared for its accompanying responsibilities.
Vaughan spoke at great length of his current album, and about some of
his plans for the immediate future. He was very excited about the new Lonnie
Mack album, which he co-produced (and played on) in Austin last year. He'd
picked up a few important life lessons from the veteran guitarist; Mack, of
course, has seen and done it all in his long career, and lived with and without
A few weeks later, when I talked to Vaughan again, he elaborated on his
relationship with Albert King. It was almost midnight, a warm Dallas spring
night, and we were driving across the northwest part of the city, looking for
hamburgers while rough mixes of the new album played on the tape deck.
"There are a lot of rockin' songs," he said, "and then
some like we've never played before. There's definitely blues in it - not less
blues than before - but it's a type of music we haven't really tried before,
some different kinds of changes. There are a few other players here and there
that people won't expect. Some keyboards (ex-Delbert McClinton pianist Reese
Wynans has beeen added to Double Trouble), some horns. But the moods are
He remarked that he and Double Trouble
were recording the album the "old way" - live, in the same room
together, and without headphones.
Meanwhile, Vaughan remains - like many Texas guitarists - a die-hard
Stratocaster player who uses a minimum of effects. For the new album, he's
stuck mostly with the white, Strat-style guitar he posed with for the cover of
Couldn 't Stand The Weather. Built in 1983 for Vaughan by his friend,
the late Dallas guitar dealer and repairman Charley Wirz, the guitar features
Danelectro pickups and custom wiring. The instrument's sound is exemplified by
the light, quickly strummed break in "Tin Pan Alley", which was
recorded with only a low Leslie effect.
"They're hooked up pretty straight,
I guess," he grinned. "I have a Tube Screamer, a wah and the Leslie
on my pedal board, and an on-off switch for everything, so that when I switch
it off, between the guitar and amp there ain't nothin'. When I do a song like
'Third Stone From The Sun,' I can't control the feedback with the effects on.
It goes crazy, so I switch 'em all off and then kick it back when I'm done.
It's mostly straight, though - a weird set-up - but pretty straight."
In Texas, Vaughan is regarded by his old crowd as a hot blues player
with a tight band and a lot of rock and roll in his sound; the blues variations
are still common in Texas clubs. His music has been refined and expanded by all
the work and opportunities that've come his way in the past two or three years,
but at its core, it's still the steamy, torrid blues he played in the
At a Dallas show in late April, Vaughan used the Wirz Strat and the '59,
and, when a string broke on that guitar, a custom Hamilton. On slow blues like
"Tin Pan Alley," the white guitar had a thin, edgy, cutting sound,
sweet but hard. The '59 Strat is a fuller, chunkier-sounding guitar, more of a
rocker, more typical of the thick tones on Couldn't Stand The Weather;
it is Vaughan's instrument of choice when he does Hendrix covers.
Within days of the Dallas date, the new
Lonnie Mack album, Strike Like Lightning (Alligator), finally hit the
stores; it was the first record from the legendary guitarist in some seven
years. While Vaughan downplays his role as co-producer - it's his first
production effort outside Double Trouble - it's clear enough from the handful
of guitar duels included on the album that Vaughan helped create a heck of a
(Taken from Guitar World 1985)