Tuesday, September 08, 2015

SRV Memories...

I am always a day late and a dollar short with these anniversary things but late August marks the 25th year since Texas bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughn was killed in a helicopter crash. I had the the pleasure to see SRV many times around Texas in the early 1980s. Many times it was up close in small bars like the Crossroads in Nacogdoches, and once in the old SFA ballroom in the student center. 

Here's a recent photo taken of me outside a famous Austin musical landmark the Continental Club. I had a friend, Julie who lived just off South Congress and it was a short walk up towards the capital building to the Continental. I can't even tell where that old house was now days what with all the new construction and the hipsters wandering the SoCo neighborhoods. If I remember correctly it was a pretty dark walk in those old days but we walked up there to see Lonnie Mack, a guitarist who had a few early 1960s hits that displayed a style brought to greater prominence by Hendrix and SRV.  Back then you could still sit at a table in a bar instead of the standing room only venues like you have now and while I was sitting watching Lonnie I noted SRV leaning on the cigarette machine. A cigarette machine (don't see many so I'll explain) was a vending machine that dispensed cigs by the pack. After a bit SRV got up and jammed with Lonnie. It was great. 

All this took place back in the day before cameras so the only photo I ever made of SRV is this one at the New Orleans Jazz Fest from behind the stage. Maybe it's kind of a blues symbolism thing, he's moving on away from me. I know one time and I think it was before this I saw him and the Fabulous Thunderbirds  in the old Sam Houston Coliseum. I was up in the balcony in a padded seat and it seemed I was 1000 yards from the action.  Was not like the old crowded dance floors of the Texas roadhouses where I saw SRV so many times for a couple of bucks. I lost interest and I still lose interest in bands these day when the venues get bigger and the L.A. rock and roll haircuts for the band cost the same as admission.  

Once when I was sitting in the old Crossroads club waiting to see SRV play a roadie dude came out with the famous #1 guitar. He sat at the table beside me and using needle nose pliers cut the strings off #1 straight across the pickups. I bet they fell to the floor but I never thought about picking them up. Now people sell bracelets made from famous players strings. He quickly restrung and SRV walked by, took the guitar, plugged in and started playing. All happen about as fast as I could write this. I bet that guitar is worth a million bucks and nobody gets near it with needle nose pliers anymore. 

Recently SRV's old band Double Trouble, Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon played in Lufkin at the Pines Theater backing up blues singer Mike Farris. I did not go see them . Even though they have padded seats at the Pines I guess I have moved on. I have not spun those SRV records in years but I recently played a Lonnie Mack record. 

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Blogger Tommy Domingue said...

What great memories. I never got to see the man play as I came upon his music after he passed. It's good to know you shared some space with SRV. I have all of his music now, and have one or two Lonnie Mack CDs. Great blues is turning into our classical music for the next few generations.

9:32 PM  

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