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Tightrope is a song from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s fourth studio album 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.
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.”
Lou Reed selected In Step as one of his ‘picks of 1989’.
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.”
Tommy Shannon (born Thomas Lafitte Smedley; April 18, 1946) 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.