If you run the numbers of the Summer 1989 album In Step by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, just the mere facts are impressive. In Step was the Texas trio’s fourth studio album, but their first after Vaughan’s collapse and near death from substance abuse while on tour in Germany had forced both Stevie and Double Trouble bass player Tommy Shannon into rehab hospitals. In Step won a Grammy Award, one of six Vaughan amassed, while racking up the best sales of Vaughan’s lauded career because of “The House is Rockin'”,”Crossfire”, “Tightrope“,”Let Me Love You Baby“, and the stunner “Riviera Paradise“.
Yet the significance of In Step as a musical statement of intent cannot be told by mere sales or awards. It can only be assessed by the friends who knew Stevie Vaughan best (Eric Clapton), the musicians who inspired him first (Buddy Guy, the late Doyle Bramhall), the players who supported him before and after recovery(Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon), the musicians who in turn Vaughan inspired (Joe Bonamassa ), and the biographer who tried to capture his lightning in a bottle (author Joe Nick Patoski). They are all In Step here In the Studio on the album’s 30th anniversary. –Redbeard
(With Stevie Ray Vaughan Labor Day weekend Dallas 1989. Photo by Robert Starkey)