Stevie Ray Vaughan

Texas Flood/In the Beginning

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Sony Legacy's X2 series is one of the more curious reissue programs in the label's history. Here is a prime example: Stevie Ray Vaughan's breakthrough debut for the label, Texas Flood from 1983, is slapped in a slipcase with 1992's In the Beginning. The strange thing is that the latter album, while indeed recorded earlier, was released posthumously. It would have made far more sense to pop the debut in a sleeve with its successor -- also a hit -- Couldn't Stand the Weather from 1984. These two discs make perfect bookends and offer an exacting portrait of Vaughan's music at the time. These first two albums popped out almost immediately after he bailed from David Bowie's touring band after appearing on the Let's Dance album. This version does contain the bonus tracks. In the Beginning is a hodgepodge assemblage of cuts from a still developing period for the guitarist -- not so much as a soloist, but as a bandleader -- and he still sounds very much like a bar band musician -- albeit an extremely talented one. There are no bonus cuts here. The question is: who is going to buy these? Especially since, only six months earlier, Sony released a triple package of those first two albums with Soul to Soul in one of these slipcases? This must simply be a case of having too much stock lying around gathering dust. The high star rating is for the music, not the packaging cynicism.

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