Vaughn’s band including sax players Greg Piccolo and Doug James, (from Duke Robillard’s original Roomful of Blues) who have played together for so long they literally sound like 1 horn then they riff! Then, of course, is the guitar playing – Vaughn is true blues master with tone and taste to spare. I have been a fan of Vaughn’s straight up Texas blues guitar since the first Fabulous Thunderbirds LP “Girls go Wild” back in 1979. He is an elegant and tasteful player that never plays a superfluous note and his biting Fender tone is to die for. I noticed even on fast tunes he never plays fast, just maintains his perfect lean and soulful style. Vaughn featured a lot of tunes from his fine current CD, “Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites” and his upcoming CD called “More Blues, Ballads and Favorites.”
Next up was one of Americana’s great songwriters and performers Dave Alvin @ Johnny D’s in Somerville. Dave and his brother Phil roared out of Downey California with “The Blasters” back in 1979 (same year as the first Fabulous Thunderbird’s LP!). With New Orleans great Lee Allen on tenor sax and Gene Taylor on piano they were, for me, the greatest roots rock band that I ever heard. Dave was the driving guitar player and main songwriter and Phil was the lead singer. In his post Blaster’s career Dave has played with X and various other bands prior to beginning his formal solo career in 1987.
At Johnny D’s Dave and his quartet featured mostly songs from his new CD “Eleven Eleven” (being his 11th album, released in 2011). The set was, was like all Alvin’s shows a wonderful mix of beautiful working class poetry and ragged but right rock and roll. Highlights from the superb new CD were “Harlan County Line” and “Johnny Ace is Dead,” but there were great older tunes as well, the elegiac “Abilene” and rip roaring “Marie, Marie” and a menacing and deadly “Out of Control.”