Book Review: Texas Platters

A Texas Flood of new interviews paint an intimate portrait of late Austin guitar god

Texas Platters

Almost 30 years after his untimely death in a helicopter crash, Stevie Ray Vaughan comes gloriously back to life in this all-out biography. Co-authors Alan Paul and Andy Aledort conducted over 100 interviews with the guitarist's inner circle, and draw from several with the artist himself, to provide a first-person insight that hadn't previously been given to the Texas blues icon. Like Paul's Allman Brothers chronicle One Way Out, the authors lean heavily on that oral history, but control the myriad voices into a tight focus that propels the narrative. Most valuable are extensive contributions from SRV's Double Trouble bandmates Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon, who provide inside context for the band's rise to stardom and the shift as addictions spun out of control, plus the ultimate journey by Vaughan to sobriety. In those voices, we hear the heartbreak of Vaughan's drug abuse devastating his music and relationships, especially as the warm, open soul that defined his personality recedes. The authors likewise excel in describing the uniqueness of Vaughan's playing, with Guitar World editor Aledort elucidating the technical and stylistic genius of the blues shredder. Texas Flood unleashes that which made Vaughan a master musician and person.

Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

by Alan Paul & Andy Aledort
St. Martin’s Press, 368 pp., $29.99

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Stevie Ray Vaughan, Allman Brothers, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, Texas Book Festival 2019

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