The blues is just about the most American of all the music styles out there. No other genre has such a grasp on the whole of human emotion than the blues. Music historian Alan Lomax was quoted as saying that, “the blues has always been a state of being as well as a style of singing.” I think that’s pretty darn accurate. While most people would agree that the blues were born in the Mississippi Delta, most would also concur that Texas has always held a pretty significant grasp on the genre as well. Thus, here we are with Jimmie Vaughan and his newest Last Music Co. release, Baby, Please Come Home.
Only a few of the original blues greats remain, and of those considered up and coming in the genre, one finds very little in way of traditional blues. Nothing at all against the Gary Clark Jr.s and other more contemporary blues artists. There’s just something about the traditional sound that sparks an incomparable joy for me, and then there’s that magical Texas blues sound. It’s distinctive, just as Chicago blues are distinctive. Whether it’s Lightnin’ Hopkins, Doug Sahm or Jimmie Vaughan, you know you’re listening to Texas blues when you hear it. Vaughan’s been at it for a little bit now, somewhere around 50 years. As distinctive as Texas blues are, Vaughan’s style is equally distinctive. An artist that plays in a style, that’s fueled by “feel,” rather than a need to cram in as many hot licks as will fit. Sometimes the best note is the one not played. It takes a musician a long journey to get to that point if ever. Vaughan seemingly has it mastered.
“Baby, Please Come Home” is a fine example of the distinctive Vaughan style. An album comprised of songs written by an eclectic collection of songwriters. Blues songwriters such as Gatemouth Brown, T-Bone Walker, Etta James and Jimmy Reed. But in that true Texas style, we see elements of country mixed in with songs by someone such as Lefty Frizzell. Through it all, it sounds distinctly like Jimmie Vaughan. When he began recording these sessions at the Fire Station Studio in San Marcos, TX, Vaughan needn’t look far for a supporting cast of players. Tapping his roster of longstanding collaborators was key to getting the “feel” he sought for the album. “Baby, Please Come Home features, George Rains, Billy Pitman, Ronnie James, Mike Flanigin, Doug James, Greg Piccolo, Al Gomez, Kaz Kazonoff, T. Jarred Bonta, John Mills, and Randy Zimmerman. They’re also joined by guest vocalists Georgia Bramhall and Emily Gimble.
“Baby, Please Come Home features 9 studio tracks as well as two live tracks, “Hold It” & “Baby, What’s Wrong?”. Highlights for me ranged from Frizzell’s “No One To Talk To But the Blues,” Fats Domino’s “So Glad” and Gatemouth Brown’s “Midnight Hour” (no, not the Wilson Pickett version).
Truthfully, I’d be hard pressed to find a song here that wasn’t a highlight. As a collection, it’s just about perfect. I was fortunate to have covered Vaughan’s tour stop in OKC last year. (You can check out that review here:https://americanahighways.org/2018/07/25/show-review-jimmie-vaughn-full-throttle-r-b-revival-at-okcs-tower-theatre/ . Unfortunately, at this time there doesn’t look to be a return stop as part of the current tour supporting Baby, Please Come Home. While that’s certainly unfortunate for me, luckily for the rest of you, the tour is covering a lot of ground, including some dates across the pond. If Vaughan finds himself in your town, be sure to check him out, and definitely pick up a copy of Baby, Please Come Home for a little taste of the best blues Texas has to offer. Visit Jimmie Vaughan’s web page for more information including those upcoming tour dates by clicking here:https://www.jimmievaughan.com/