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.

Album collection of recorded music, words, sounds

An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), vinyl, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded music were developed in the early 20th century as individual 78-rpm records collected in a bound book resembling a photograph album; this format evolved after 1948 into single vinyl LP records played at ​33 13 rpm. Vinyl LPs are still issued, though album sales in the 21st-century have mostly focused on CD and MP3 formats. The audio cassette was a format widely used alongside vinyl from the 1970s into the first decade of the 2000s.

Stevie Ray Vaughan American guitarist, songwriter and recording artist

Stephen Ray Vaughan was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, and one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues in the 1980s. He is commonly referred to as one of the greatest guitar players of all time.

Jimmie Vaughan American blues rock guitarist and singer

Jimmie Lawrence Vaughan is an American blues rock guitarist and singer based in Austin, Texas. He is the older brother of the late Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.


The album received universal acclaim. Critics called it Vaughan’s best album, with some even saying it was one of the best albums of the year. It received praise for solidifying Vaughan’s unique style, his consistent songwriting, and his clean and sweet sounding guitar playing, while some criticized it for some songs (mainly Tightrope and Wall of Denial) sounding too personal, and too unrelatable to the general public.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [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]

Lou Reed American musician, recording artist, singer-songwriter

Lewis Allan Reed was an American musician, singer, songwriter and poet. He was the lead guitarist, singer and principal songwriter for the rock band the Velvet Underground and had a solo career that spanned five decades. The Velvet Underground were not a commercial success during their existence, but are now regarded as one of the most influential bands in the history of underground and alternative rock music.

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
Guitar fretted string instrument

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

Singing act of producing musical sounds with the voice

Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice and augments regular speech by the use of sustained tonality, rhythm, and a variety of vocal techniques. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music that can be sung with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is often done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, jazz, blues, gazal and popular music styles such as pop, rock, electronic dance music and filmi.

Tommy Shannon American bass guitarist

Tommy Shannon is an American bass guitarist, who is best known as a member of Double Trouble, a blues rock band led by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Shannon moved to Dumas, Texas when he was nine, where he originally started as a guitarist, though he started playing bass at the age of 21. He appeared with Johnny Winter at Woodstock in 1969. He later joined Double Trouble in 1981 and became a permanent member of Double Trouble until Vaughan's death in 1990. Shannon and bandmate Chris Layton later formed supergroups such as the Arc Angels and Storyville.

Additional personnel

Darrell Leonard is a Los Angeles-based trumpet player, composer and arranger.


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

Related Research Articles

<i>Texas Flood</i> 1983 studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

Texas Flood is the first studio album by the American blues rock band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, released on June 13, 1983 by Epic Records. The album was named after a cover featured on the album "Texas Flood", recorded by blues singer Larry Davis in 1958. Produced by the band and recording engineer Richard Mullen, it was recorded in only three days at Jackson Browne's personal recording studio in Los Angeles. Vaughan wrote six of the ten tracks on Texas Flood. Two singles were released from the album. A music video was made for "Love Struck Baby" and received regular rotation on MTV in 1983. In 1999, Texas Flood was reissued with five bonus tracks including an interview segment, studio outtake, and 3 live tracks recorded on September 23, 1983 at The Palace, Hollywood, California. In 2013, The album was reissued again, this time with two CDs in celebration of the album's 30th anniversary. Disc 1 is the Original album with one bonus track, Tin Pan Alley, which was first released on the 1999 reissue. Disc 2 is a previously unreleased concert recorded at Ripley's Music Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 20, 1983.

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Soul to Soul is the third studio album by American blues rock band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released on September 30, 1985 by Epic Records. Recording sessions took place between March and May 1985 at the Dallas Sound Lab in Dallas, Texas. Vaughan wrote four of Soul to Soul's ten tracks; two songs were released as singles. The album went to #34 on the Billboard 200 chart and the music video for "Change It" received regular rotation on MTV. In 1999, a reissue of the album was released, which includes an audio interview segment and two studio outtakes.

Double Trouble is an American blues rock band from Austin, Texas, formed by guitarist/singer Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1978. The group was active throughout the 1980s and contributed to reviving the blues, inspiring many later blues and rock musicians. Formed in Austin, Texas, by 1985 the group consisted of Vaughan, Chris Layton (drums), Tommy Shannon (bass), and eventually Reese Wynans (keyboards). While with Vaughan the band was billed Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Rooted in blues and rock music, the group worked in many genres ranging from ballads to soul, often incorporating jazz and other elements.

Love Struck Baby single by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

"Love Struck Baby" is a blues rock song performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Vaughan wrote the song about the night that he moved in with his then-wife, Lenny. The track was produced by Vaughan for the band's debut album Texas Flood, recorded in Los Angeles. "Love Struck Baby" was the first single from Texas Flood, released by Epic Records in the United States and United Kingdom. In the song's accompanying music video, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton are shown relaxing at a bar before Vaughan enters and starts performing the song for a crowd. "Love Struck Baby" was a concert favorite for fans of the band; Vaughan would frequently play the guitar behind his head for part of the solo.

<i>The Sky Is Crying</i> (album) 1991 studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

The Sky Is Crying is the fifth and final studio album of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, containing recordings spanning most of their career. Released about one year after Vaughan's death in 1990, the album features ten previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1984 and 1989. Only one title, "Empty Arms", appeared on any of the group's previous albums. The tracks were compiled by Vaughan's brother, Jimmie Vaughan, as a vehicle for releasing the title track.

<i>In the Beginning</i> (Stevie Ray Vaughan album) 1992 live album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

In the Beginning is the second live album by Stevie (Ray) Vaughan and Double Trouble. While the album was released about two years after Vaughan's death in 1990, the actual performance took place on April 1, 1980 at Steamboat 1874 in Austin, Texas, and was broadcast live on KLBJ-FM radio. A 25-year-old Vaughan, still more than three years away from the release of his first studio album, performs with his "Double Trouble" bandmates: Chris Layton, drummer, and Jackie Newhouse, bassist.

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Arc Angels band

Arc Angels were a blues rock band formed in Austin, Texas in the early 1990s. The band was composed of guitarist and singers Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton and two former members of Stevie Ray Vaughan's band Double Trouble, drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon. The 'Arc' in the band's name came from the Austin Rehearsal Complex where the band first started jamming.

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Reese Wynans is an American keyboard player, who has done session work and has been a member of Double Trouble and progressive rock band Captain Beyond.

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<i>The Real Deal: Greatest Hits Volume 2</i> 1999 greatest hits album by Stevie Ray Vaughan

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Chris Layton American Drummer

Christopher "Chris" Layton, also known as "Whipper", is an American drummer who rose to fame as one of the founding members of Double Trouble, a blues rock band led by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Layton moved to Austin in 1975 and joined the band Greezy Wheels. He later joined Vaughan's band Double Trouble in 1978. After forming successful partnerships with bandmates Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans, Double Trouble recorded and performed with Vaughan until his death in 1990. Layton and Shannon later formed supergroups such as the Arc Angels, Storyville, and Grady. Layton is the drummer for the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.

Bill Carter is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame. He is best known for co-writing "Crossfire" and "Willie The Wimp", recorded by Stevie Ray Vaughan; "Why Get Up?", recorded by The Fabulous Thunderbirds; and "Jacksboro Highway", recorded by John Mayall. Carter's songs have been covered by other blues, country, and rock artists including Waylon Jennings, Robert Palmer, Ruth Brown, Stray Cats, and Counting Crows.


  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