In Step

Last updated
In Step
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 6, 1989
RecordedJanuary 25–March 13, 1989 at Kiva Studios, Memphis, Tennessee; Sound Castle and Summa Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Genre Blues rock, jazz blues
Label Epic
Producer Double Trouble,
Jim Gaines
Stevie Ray Vaughan chronology
Live Alive
In Step
The Sky Is Crying

In Step is the fourth studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released in 1989. The title In Step can be seen as referring to Vaughan's new-found sobriety, following the years of drug and alcohol use that eventually led Vaughan into rehabilitation. It was also Vaughan's final album with Double Trouble. In 1990, he recorded a collaboration album with his brother, Jimmie Vaughan, called Family Style ; later that year, Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash.



Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic [1]
Robert Christgau A− [2]

Reviews for In Step have generally been positive. Robert Christgau rated the album an A-, signifying "a very good record." Although he stated that "Wall of Denial" and "Tightrope" fall into ex-addict jargon like it was natural speech" and that "if the music was preachy or wimpy this would be a disaster," he concluded that "House Is Rockin'" keeps on boogieing on and that on the mood-jazz closer he escapes the blues undamaged for the first time in his career." [2]

Lou Reed selected In Step as one of his 'picks of 1989'. [3]

In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic rated In Step five out of five stars. He noted that before the album was released, "his songwriting was hit or miss. Even when he wrote a classic modern blues song, it was firmly within the genre's conventions." He further stated that it helped "Vaughan found his own songwriting voice, blending blues, soul, and rock in unique ways, and writing with startling emotional honesty." Although he stated that "tunes like the terse "Tightrope" and the dense "Wall of Denial" feel so intensely personal, it's hard to believe that they weren't the product of just one man", he also stated that "the lighter numbers [...] are just as effective as songs." He concluded that "it's fully realized, presenting every facet of Vaughan's musical personality, yet it still soars with a sense of discovery. It's a bittersweet triumph, given Vaughan's tragic death, [...] yet it's a triumph all the same." [1]

Track listing

  1. "The House Is Rockin'" (Doyle Bramhall, Vaughan) – 2:24
  2. "Crossfire" (Bill Carter, Ruth Ellsworth, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, Reese Wynans) – 4:10
  3. "Tightrope" (Bramhall, Vaughan) – 4:40
  4. "Let Me Love You Baby" (Willie Dixon) – 2:43
  5. "Leave My Girl Alone" (Buddy Guy) – 4:15
  6. "Travis Walk" (Vaughan) – 2:19
  7. "Wall of Denial" (Bramhall, Vaughan) – 5:36
  8. "Scratch-N-Sniff" (Bramhall, Vaughan) – 2:43
  9. "Love Me Darlin'" (Chester Burnett) – 3:21
  10. "Riviera Paradise" (Vaughan) – 8:49

Bonus tracks

The 1999 reissue adds the following tracks:

  1. "SRV Speaks" (Vaughan) – 1:33
  2. "The House is Rockin'" (Live) (Bramhall, Vaughan) – 2:48
  3. "Let Me Love You Baby" (Live) (Dixon) – 3:46
  4. "Texas Flood" (Live) (Larry C. Davis, Joseph W. Scott) – 7:28
  5. "Life Without You" (Live) (Vaughan) – 13:17

"Life Without You" is essentially a long jam, with two extended guitar parts separated by break in which (with bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton still playing) Vaughan completes a short monologue on his troubles with substances abuse and his newly found sobriety. He asks those in the audience to take care of themselves so they can "be there for the ones who love you and need you the most."


Double Trouble
Additional personnel


Album - Billboard (North America)

1989The Billboard 20033

Singles - Billboard (North America)

1989"Crossfire"Mainstream Rock Tracks1


Grammy Awards

1989Stevie Ray Vaughan Best Contemporary Blues Album


  1. 1 2 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. In Step at AllMusic. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  2. 1 2 Christgau, Robert. "CG:Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble" . Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  3. Rolling Stone , March 8, 1990