November 29, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

The Sky is Crying

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
genre
Rock
We gave it an A-

It?s the rule: When the good guys die, record companies make more money selling their music. So it wouldn?t be reasonable to assume that this Stevie Ray Vaughan album, the first collection since Family Style was released shortly after the guitarist?s death last year, might be a half-baked assemblage of incomplete scraps to milk fans? sympathies and ship maxi-units. Yet such an assumption would, oddly enough, be seriously inaccurate. Rather than a patchwork affair, The Sky Is Crying, compiled by Vaughan?s guitarist brother Jimmie, is the best showcase the fiery Texan has ever had. The 10 tracks here, chosen from various unissued 1984-89 studio recordings, display his remarkable grasp of the styles of such diverse players as Albert King, Kenny Burrell, Lonnie Mack, and Jimi Hendrix, among others; yet in doing so, they consistently show him to be less an imitator than a true inheritor. There?s enough substance in this music — on tracks like ”Little Wing” and ”Boot Hill” — and enough variety, warmth, and individuality to bring listeners back to it again and again. Now he?s gone for good; this album and its eerily appropriate title profoundly drive the point home. A-

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