Texas guitarist Jimmie Vaughan isn't exactly prolific when it comes to recording. Though he's has hundreds of credits since leaving the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1987, Vaughan has released only six solo studio albums, and one, Family Style, was co-billed to younger brother Stevie Ray. His previous album, Jimmie Vaughan Plays More Blues, Ballads & Favorites, appeared in 2011. He's also made some notable guest appearances since then, adding his inimitable guitar style to albums by Nick Lowe, Duke Robillard, Gov't Mule, and Sue Foley.
Issued by the U.K.'s Last Music Co. Baby, Please Come Home is another set of less-than-obvious covers drawn from the dusty shelves of vintage jump blues and R&B shuffles, rockabilly, doo wop, and country music. All are reworked in his hard-swinging back-to-basics style, delivered with raw passion as well as economy, his razor-blade six-string acting as a guidepost rather than driving force. The set was cut in mono mostly at the Fire Station in San Marcos, Texas, except for a couple of tracks captured live in Austin. Vaughan's cast comprises alternating groups of veteran friends. The title-track opener by Lloyd Price is a big, rowdy groover with Vaughan's pointy leads going right at the strolling horn section, with his grainy baritone shouting over the top. The snare and cymbal shuffle and walking bassline support his solo, while ex-Roomful of Blues' saxman Greg Piccolo wails on tenor. After "Just a Game," a slippery Louisiana soul-blues penned by the "Crazy Cajun" Huey P. Meaux, Vaughan reinvents Lefty Frizzell's countrified doo wop number "No One to Talk To (But the Blues)," as a wailing, jump blues shouter, with the horns fighting his vocal for dominance. It wouldn’t be a Vaughan record without at least one tune by idol and fellow Texas bluesman T-Bone Walker, and here's it's the uncharacteristically lush, slow jazz-blues "I’m Still in Love with You" featuring upright bass, piano, muted trumpet, and Mike Flanigin's B-3. It's the guitarist's finest vocal performance on the record, and that's saying something since Vaughan’s singing has only gotten better with age. Richard Berry's ("Louie Louie") "Be My Lovey Dovey" alternates between razor-wire guitar fills and a swinging chorus with handclaps provided by backing vocalists Emily Gimble and Georgia Bramhall. The fat baritone sax solo on Fats Domino's and Dave Bartholomew's fingerpopping "I’m Glad" is capped by Vaughan delivering a meaty, grits-and-gravy acoustic solo. The closer is a live read of Jimmy Reed's "Baby, What's Wrong," winding Vaughan's playing history back to his beginnings. The punchy strut of Flanigin's B-3 is matched only by the guitarist's passionate vocal and meaty, fleet-fingered playing. The track sends Baby, Please Come Home off on a house-rocking note. As usual, Vaughan completely ignores modern electric blues trends. On this excellent slab of grease, grit, and soul, past is present is future, thank goodness.