Baby, Please Come Home
(Last Music Co.)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
If you ask Jimmie Vaughan why he hasn’t composed any original material over the past decade or so, he’d probably tell you that all the best blues songs have already been written … or something to that effect. So it’s no surprise that the singer and guitarist reaches back once again to dust off 11 obscure blues gems on his first (mostly) studio album in eight years.
This is nothing new for the ex-Fabulous Thunderbirds axe-man. He’s been excavating cool material to reprise, if not necessarily update, in a frills-free fashion since the Thunderbirds’ first release back in 1979. And on his previous studio collections from 2010/2011 (two volumes of the appropriately titled Blues, Ballads & Favorites), Vaughan took the same approach. On this short but sweet collection of 11 covers, he employs a horn section featuring some old members of Roomful of Blues to fatten the sound and bring old-school, retro-honking to the table.
Although a few of these writers such as T-Bone Walker, Fats Domino, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and Lloyd Price might be familiar to casual roots/blues music fans, it takes diehards to have heard the selections Vaughan unearths here. Kicking off with Price’s title track, the guitarist and his band are fired up, churning out fast, slow and medium tempo shuffles, and lots of jump blues, with as much and arguably more energy as the initial artists. There aren’t a lot of deep lyrical concepts as titles such as “Be My Lovey Dovey” or “I’m Still In Love With You” indicate. But no one is arriving to this party platter for spiritual enlightenment on the meaning of life. They come for a swinging great time which is just what they get as Vaughan and his crew sound like kids in a musical candy store playing their favorites with no consideration of any commercial prospects.
While the guitarist doesn’t have the best vocal chops, his understated singing works well with his similarly unfussy yet punchy leads. Vaughan once worked with Omar Kent Dykes on an album of Jimmy Reed tunes, so it’s little surprise he reprises the particularly spirited Reed penned “Baby, What’s Wrong” to close this set.
Now pushing 70, Vaughan isn’t out to be the next flavor of the month — he never was — but he revives these blues corkers with class, restraint and a vibrant sense of love for his chosen genre that shines through on every cut.