Two different Texas music legends, both late great players of the blues, have new albums with old material out this week. A new Legacy Edition of Stevie Ray Vaughan's debut album "Texas Flood," which turns 30 this year, includes the album plus a lively concert from 1983. And Townes Van Zandt's "Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions and demos 1971-1972" offers some of the great songwriter's best-known songs in stripped down versions far superior to the ones released during his lifetime. You can read about both albums at houstonchronicle.com
"Texas Flood" found Vaughan looking back as well as looking forward. In addition to his originals, he updated some of his favorite old blues songs.
Included among them are the title track by Larry "L.C." Davis, who recorded "Texas Flood" for Duke Records, which was run by Don Robey out of Houston when the song was made in 1958.
Vaughan also covered Howlin' Wolf's crackling good "Tell Me."
And Buddy Guy's "Mary Had a Little Lamb" . . .
And he turned this wild Isley Brothers collaboration with Jimi Hendrix into an instrumental.
Reissues of "Texas Flood" have included Vaughan's take on Lonnie Mack's instrumental "Wham!," which was a 1963 barn burner.
While the songs on "Sunshine Boy" find Van Zandt covering the Rolling Stones and Jimmie Rodgers, most of the songs are originals. And they tend to get covered. A lot.
Best-known was the Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard take on "Pancho & Lefty," which likely bought Van Zandt a lot of drinks. The video (which features a couple of brief Van Zandt appearances) is also a fairly funny product of its era:
Bluegrass legend J.D. Crowe and the New South do great work with "White Freight Liner Blues" and its "bad news from Houston" . . .
Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle have both done "Lungs." Here they do it together:
Earle's son Justin Townes Earle burns through one by his namesake, "Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold":
The Cowboy Junkies further prettify the already pretty "To Live Is To Fly" (they also do nicely by "The Highway Kind"):
Ben Weaver doing "Highway Kind":
Eric Taylor doing "Where I Lead Me":