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Stevie Ray Vaughan: Rise Of A Texas Bluesman: 1954–1983

A blues-filled trip through SRV’s formative years.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was 29 by the time ‘break-out’ Texas Flood was released. He’d been a working musician for over a decade by then, setting fretboards and blues clubs alight throughout Austin; as recalled here by a (largely very Texan) cast of old bandmates and blues connoisseurs.

Yes he found fame in the 80s, but a LOT happened before then – as this relatively academic but engaging documentary reminds us. At least as significant here, however, is Stevie’s place in the wider blues movement of the time – from crackly Blind Lemon Jefferson recordings, to wonderful footage of the young Johnny Winter.

A flash of gleaming stetsons, shiny jackets and bigger stages speedily depicts his spotlight years, in stark contrast with the minutiae in which his formative influences and local scene are explored. For a broader audience, a wider-reaching documentary would strike more of a chord. As a hefty shot of Texas blues history, however, this is a solid investment.

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.