Stevie Ray Vaughan: Pride and Joy
Pride and Joy
The posthumous archiving work completed so far on behalf of Stevie Ray Vaughan has done right by both fans and novices. Pride and Joy may be for purists, only expanding as it does on a previous VHS release. But the best moments will satisfy the aficionado and may in fact pique the curiosity of the dilettante.
This collection of videos from the 1980s will no doubt provoke more than a little laughter and amusement. But it will reveal how Vaughan and his band managed to make an impression on the culture in the early days of MTV without serious compromise. For one thing, they never appeared without their musical instruments, and the musicians posited themselves as a band even in the kitschiest scenarios such as the one for "Cold Shot. That said, it's hardly necessary to watch the lip-synched likes of "Crossfire more than once to be reminded why David Bowie wanted to hire the guitarist for his "Let's Dance" band (and also why Vaughan decided not to succumb to the temptation of the cult of personality).
It's a deeper and altogether different experience to see the MTV Unplugged segments with Stevie Ray Vaughan, alone on stage, playing a twelve-string acoustic guitar with flamenco fluidity and speed. Given the evolution of the medium, it's a shame no more mainstream avenue existed for the late Texas bluesman, but if there were any doubt he was a genuine musician, after watching his stylized videos, any present-day viewer is apt to be convinced. The quiet dignity and restraint he displays before, during and after he plays "Rude Mood" are further testament to both his authenticity and authority.
Those segments alone are sufficient reason to own Pride and Joy, but they also inevitably raise the question of whether there's any more content like it residing in the vault. The disc comes sans bonus features per se, but the primary footageincluding interviews and extended studio segments of Stevie and his brother Jimmie working on and speaking about their Family Style project (Epic, 1990)serves the same purpose.
In addition, and perhaps even more significant in hindsight, the siblings' camaraderie, as captured in conversation for media relations concerning promotion of the album, illustrates not just their blood kinship but the equally tight bond arising from their mutual love of the blues and music in general. Even Nile Rodgers sounds exceptionally earnest in speaking of his work as producer of The Vaughan Brothers: in fact, the leader of the disco group Chic gives the distinct impression it was an education of sorts.
SRV fans and serious collectors alike will surely want Pride and Joy to stand alongside their expanded CDs, box sets and newly-archived titles released since the tragic death of the accomplished guitarist and influential rock musician/blues man in 1990. And finally the DVD medium itself might just be enough to entice those heretofore ignorant of the Texan to pursue a further interest in one of the true blues greats of our time.
Production Notes: Produced for DVD by John Jackson and Michael Rubenstein; Format: Enhanced, NTSC; Region: All Regions; DVD Run Time: 70 minutes.