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Album review: Jimmie Vaughan, 'Plays More Blues, Ballads & Favorites'

3 stars (out of 4)

Jimmie Vaughan

’s late, younger brother

Stevie Ray Vaughan

cut a wide swath with his expansive style and blues-drenched attack. Jimmie Vaughan, in contrast, is all about taut, wiry economy. Virtually everything he's recorded has been informed by restraint and a wide-ranging taste in blues, R&B and early country.

“Plays More Blues, Ballads & Favorites” (Shout Factory) is the quick follow-up to last year's fine "Blues, Ballads & Favorites." Like its predecessor, it focuses on relatively obscure decades-old tracks associated with artists  ranging from Jivin’ Gene and Annie Laurie to

Ray Charles

and Hank Williams Sr.

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Vaughan invests them with renewed vitality, leading a hard-charging combo through live-in-the-studio takes that swing rather than smash. The drums slide just behind the beat, horns dart and dash, and Vaughan chooses his spots like the seasoned guitarist he is – his solos and fills are models of waste-free incisiveness. He packs a lot of excitement into small spaces, an integral ensemble player rather than a show-off soloist. Vaughan's to-the-point vocals serve the songs well, but he hands the microphone to his fellow Austin,

Texas

, artist Lou Ann Barton on three tracks. As with everything in his career, Vaughan is glad to share. Just don't mistake that self-effacing style as a lack of talent. On the contrary, Vaughan's ability to choose his spots, let the groove ride, and play well with his friends is a kind of greatness all its own.

greg@gregkot.com

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