We can’t imagine a more fitting tribute to blues-rockers Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble than the one the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame assembled this past weekend to help celebrate the group’s induction in the Hall. If it wasn’t enough pairing original Double Trouble members Chris Layton (drums), Reese Wynans (keyboards), and Tommy Shannon (bass) with Vaughan’s older brother Jimmie Vaughan on guitar, the on-stage gathering also included a few other well-known and rising talents in fellow Texas guitarslingers Gary Clark Jr. and Doyle Bramhall II (whose father wrote several songs performed by the late Vaughan, including “Life by the Drop” and “Change It”) and another pretty impressive player of whom you may have heard named John Mayer.
Needless to say, it was a performance to remember, with Mayer, Clark, Bramhall, and Vaughan trading off on both vocals and licks for the opening “Pride and Joy” and Texas Flood” that followed, before all but Vaughan put down their instruments (save for tambourines for Bramhall and Layton) to provide background vocals on Vaughan’s “Six Strings Down”, which he wrote after Stevie’s death and still performs frequently in his brother’s memory.
Here’s the full set:
We weren’t quite sure what to think when we read that country rocker Zac Brown and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello would be among the artists paying tribute to the other group of blues-rockers being inducted, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. But, joined by blues harmonica player Jason Ricci and members of the Paul Shaffer Band on “Born in Chicago”, we have to admit, these guys made for some surprisingly good picks by the Rock Hall, with Brown’s vocals bearing a nice resemblance to those of Butterfield’s. Check it out for yourself:
Later, the surviving members of the Butterfield Band – drummer Sam Lay, keyboardist Mark Naftalin, and overall-wearing guitarist Elvin Bishop – also took the stage for a song, joined by harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold and Paul Shaffer and his band on “Got My Mojo Working” (song starts about 1:50 in):
All in all, these performances made for a rather nice nod to the blues by an organization that is sometimes criticized for overlooking artists of the genre.
You can catch an airing of the ceremony – which also included the inductions of Ringo Starr, Bill Withers, Lou Reed, Green Day, The “5” Royales, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – on HBO premiering May 30th.