Sunday July 15th was nothing short of a full throttled rhythm and blues revival as
The Tower Theatre welcomed Jimmie Vaughan, and his Tilt-a-Whirl Band to a sold out show.
Opening the evening’s festivities was Frenchie’s Blues Destroyers. Self described as “blues rockin’ footstompin’ music” the two piece band lived up to this self portrait and won over the audience in the process. Featuring Frenchie on guitar and Brother Pete on Drums, The Blues Destroyers hail from Dallas, Texas and Sunday night was their first time playing in the Sooner State. Appropriate perhaps, as based on the crowd’s reaction, I have no doubt they’ll be returning sooner than later. Their self-titled debut is available on iTunes.
Jimmie is the epitome of a cool cat. Laid back, nonchalant, sharply dressed, with slicked back hair, he makes style look easy. But the moment he plugs in that signature white Telecaster, safely held by the silver buckled guitar strap, you realize you’re in for something special. The moment his fingers touch the fret board and he picks those first few distinctive notes, you remember you’re in the presence of Texas guitar royalty. Sunday night was no exception.
Backed by his longtime bandmates, The Tilt-A-Whirl Band, this current tour also features B-3 organ maestro Mike Flanigin. Though not specifically billed as such, Jimmie and Mike are touring in support of their recent live album release Jimmie Vaughan Trio featuring Mike Flanigin “Live At C-Boy’s” on Proper Records. Opening with “Comin’ & Goin’”, the full band immediately had the sold out crowd captivated, and kept them that way with two Clarence “Gatemouth” Browns classics, “Dirty Work at the Crossroads”, and “Midnight Hour” as well as Webb Pierce’s “I Ain’t Never”. Jimmie really seemed to enjoy the crowd’s reactions, and was all smiles throughout the first mini-set of the night. Following a superb rendition of “White Boots” from the Vaughan Brothers album, we got a sampling of the Trio’s recent album as we shifted gears a bit. With Mike Flanigin still holding down the B-3, he also took over for vocals on “Rock Little Girl”, “Hey Baby” and others. This portion of the show was really enjoyable for me, especially the instrumental “Frame for the Blues”. It featured Jimmie playing a jazzy, sleepy lead throughout that indeed reminded me a bit of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleepwalk”. It was my personal highlight of the evening. Next, the full band returned and was joined by the Tilt-A-Whirl singers for the next portion that included memorable versions of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “3 Hours Past Midnight”, and possibly Jimmie’s most well known song, “Boom-Bapa-Boom”. The evening wound down with with spectacular renditions of Stevie Ray’s “Texas Flood” and “The Crawl” from Jimmie’s days with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, both of which showcased the talented Tilt-A-Whirl band. As they filed out of the Tower, it was easy to see that the audience had had as good a time as I had. Smiles abounded everywhere and people talked exuberantly about what they had just experienced. That’s something that every performer hopes for, but few actually accomplish with such certainty it seems. Jimmie and his Tilt-A-Whirl Band absolutely delivered a magical evening.