Stevie Ray Vaughan tops my Top 10 albums of 1983


It’s always fun getting your Top 10 albums of the year list together. My list for 2013 went out earlier this month, including longtime faves like Gov’t Mule, Steve Earle, Buddy Guy, Sabbath, and Satch.

But when I was rustling around in my boxes of old Georgia Straights recently I came across my Top 10 from 1983, which was probably the first Top 10 I ever had published.

It’s no surprise that Stevie Ray Vaughan‘s debut album, Texas Flood, topped that list. Or that Gary Moore came in second with Corridors of Power.

It’s just such a huge bummer that they’re both gone now.

So to help keep the memories of those two amazing guitarists alive, I’m gonna retype that Top 10 as it appeared in the Jan. 13, 1984 issue of the Straight–the one with Black Sabbath on the cover! Please keep in mind that my writing skills back then were three decades hokier than they are now.

I also apologize in advance for including Flashdance. Not quite sure what got into me back then.

1) Texas Flood Stevie Ray Vaughan. “Texas Flood is by far my most played album these days. It’s one of those rare albums where every song is a winner…if your’re a fanatic of electric blues guitar, you’ve got to have this record.” (Georgia Straight album reviews, August 5, 1983)

2) Corridors of Power Gary Moore. “Gary Moore is an astounding rock guitarist, capable of wrenching the most scintillating and unique licks imaginable from six strings. And on Corridors of Power his abilities as songwriter are showcased along with his emotional guitaring.” (April 15)

3) Back It Up Robin Trower. “If this record doesn’t break Robin Trower wide open and acknowledge him as one of the finest blues-rockers alive I’ll be very disappointed. But I’ll never stop trying to convince people of the fact.” (October 28)

4) No Guts…No Glory Molly Hatchet. “Dave Hlubek, Duane Roland, and Steve Holland are still cranking out the fiercest Southern-boogie licks on the continent. And now that the Outlaws have dwindled down to two guitarists and the Rossington-Collins Band have split up it looks like they’re about to become the reigning masters of triple-lead raunch.” (March 4)

5) Siogo Blackfoot. “While I was a little worried that the overpowering organ sound Ken Hensley had wielded in Uriah Heep might drown out the gritty guitars of Ricky Medlocke and Charlie Hargrett, I must say that he fits well in the group. Siogo holds its own when compared to earlier riff-riddled LPs Marauder, Tomcattin’ and the explosive debut Strikes.” (June 24)

6) Heads or Tails Saga. “The heavily-keyboarded and strongly percussive sound of Saga is thoroughly impressive on their latest release. Whether it’s the rocking opener ‘The Flyer’ or the more sedate ‘Intermission’, the musicians are in top form.” (November 18)

7) Powerlight Earth, Wind and Fire. “For inspirational songs of love, freedom, and fantasy it’s hard to beat Earth, Wind and Fire. This is definitely music to feel good by.” (March 4).

8) Time Step Leo Kottke. “This is the first album I’ve listened to by Leo Kottke, and he’s definitely won another fan. His relaxed singing style, simple lyricism and bluesy 12-string guitar work is highly attractive and calls for repeated listenings.” (April 29)

9) In Your Eyes George Benson. “With the help of such fine session musicians as drummers Steve Gadd and Steve Ferrone, bassist WIll Lee and Marcus Miller, keyboardists David Paich and Jorge Dalto, and saxman David Sanborn, George Benson has come up with another tantalizing collection of funk and soul-laden love songs.” (July 1)

10) Flashdance Various Artists. “The album’s opening cut ‘Flashdance…What a Feeling’ is a standout. With a heavy disco/rock backbeat and electrifying vocal performance by Irene Cara, the song has to be one of the year’s hottest yet.” (June 10)

Ugh. Can’t believe I wrote “…one of the year’s hottest yet.” I sound like a fucking Sonic 104.9 DJ.

Oh yeah–maybe you can tell by my classy iPhone photo of the story that it also included my top 10 concerts of 1983. Those were:

1) King Sunny Ade at the Commodore Ballroom, Sept. 6

2) Pat Metheny at the Queen E. Theatre, Nov. 21

3) The Band at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, July 18

4) Stevie Ray Vaughan (opening for Men at Work) at the Pacific Coliseum, Oct. 13

5) Spyro Gyra at the Plazazz Showroom, Aug. 1

6) Supertramp at B.C. Place, Sept. 3

7) Allan Holdsworth at the Soft Rock Cafe, Nov. 13

8) Def Leppard at the Pacific Coliseum, July 20

9) The Spinners at the Plazazz Showroom, April 18

10) Mental as Anything at the Commodore, Nov. 3

Don’t ask me why I put Stevie at #4. But I do recall that that King Sunny Ade show was transcendant. Thanks Sneaky Pete.

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