- Both sides here are incredibly big, full and natural sounding with tons of energy and presence; exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- “It’s hard to overestimate the impact Stevie Ray Vaughan’s debut, Texas Flood, had upon its release in 1983… Vaughan became a genuine star and, in doing so, sparked a revitalization of the blues…” – All Music
- If you’re a fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan, a killer copy of his debut album from 1983 belongs in your collection.
This copy gets Stevie’s room-filling guitar to sound about as rich and powerful as a recording of it can. When playing this record, first make sure the volume is up good and high. Now close your eyes and picture yourself in a blues club, with the volume ten times louder than your stereo will play. Electric Blues played at loud levels in a small club would sound pretty much like this album does, a bit messy but also real.
If you’re one of those audiophiles who insists on proper soundstaging with layered depth and pinpoint imaging, forget it. That’s not in the cards. The producers and engineers were going for the “live in the studio” sound with this one (and most of his other albums it seems), which means it’s a jumble image-wise.
But that’s the way you would hear it performed live, so where’s the harm?
What The Best Sides Of Texas Flood Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1983
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We’re Listening For On Texas Flood
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
Love Struck Baby
Pride and Joy
Mary Had a Little Lamb
It’s hard to overestimate the impact Stevie Ray Vaughan’s debut, Texas Flood, had upon its release in 1983. At that point, blues was no longer hip, the way it was in the ’60s. Texas Flood changed all that, climbing into the Top 40 and spending over half a year on the charts, which was practically unheard of for a blues recording. Vaughan became a genuine star and, in doing so, sparked a revitalization of the blues… Sometimes the borrowing was overt, and other times subtle, but it all blended together into a style that recalled the past while seizing the excitement and essence of the present.
Wikipedia Commentary and Background
Vaughan and Double Trouble had performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July 1982 and caught the attention of musician Jackson Browne. He offered the band three days of free use in his Los Angeles recording studio. During Thanksgiving weekend, they accepted Browne’s offer and recorded a demo. It was heard by record producer John H. Hammond, who had discovered artists such as Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen among many others. He presented the demo to Greg Geller, head of A&R at Epic Records, and arranged a recording contract.
Recording and production
Since the first day of production largely involved setting up equipment, Texas Flood was recorded in two days. In early 1983, subsequent to the band’s signing with Epic, they were given an advance of $65,000 to re-master the recordings. Vaughan’s vocals were recorded at Riverside Sound in Austin, Texas. The album was mixed and mastered in New York City. The recordings were released as Texas Flood in June 1983.
Bassist Tommy Shannon recalls of the sessions, “It really was just a big warehouse with concrete floors and some rugs thrown down. We just found a little corner, set up in a circle looking at and listening to each other and played like a live band. Vaughan used two Fender Vibroverbs and an 150-watt Dumbleland Special owned by Browne. Engineer and co-producer Richard Mullen says of his production techniques:
Just one mic on everything. I used two Shure SM57s on his guitar amps—one on a Fender Vibroverb with a 15-inch Altec Lansing speaker, and one on a Dumble 4×12″ bottom (with Electro-Voice speakers) connected to a Dumble head. Stevie played through two Vibroverbs, but I only miked one of the speakers in one of them. I positioned the mics about three or four inches off the cabinet at about a 45 degree angle to the cone. The only effect he used was an Ibanez Tube Screamer.