Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of a kind. Even his peers knew so. So many times, people like Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy have spoken publicly about Stevie Ray's gift, and it was a gift. His guitar leads would jet off into the stratosphere, return, reload, and blast off again, time after time. The Real Deal is exactly what it says it is. This is a 16-song set that doesn't let up, not one time. Throughout classic Stevie Ray tracks, like the full-speed-ahead instrumental "Scuttle Buttin'," "Love Struck Baby," and "Look at Little Sister," Stevie and the Double Trouble band consistently stand and deliver. Live tracks include the funky Stevie Wonder-penned "Superstition," Vaughan favorite "Willie the Wimp," "Shake for Me," and the blues fire of "Leave My Girl Alone." It's Stevie Ray unleashed, live and without a net. One of the biggest crowd-pleasers is included here, Stevie's retelling of the Jimi Hendrix standard "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)." Awesome. "Lenny" shows off Stevie's jazz influence with subtle phrasing that evokes memories of "Little Wing" or the coda on "Layla." No more perfect closer could have been chosen for this set than the solo acoustic number "Life by the Drop." It's a touching tale of two old friends who become estranged and then rekindle their old friendship. With The Real Deal, we are all in that same boat. Rekindling a friendship that never really died, but may have been forgotten by some for a while. The friendship we all have with the heart and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughan, his music.
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AllMusic Review by Michael B. Smith