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Texas Flood

Stevie Ray Vaughn

The Flood’s beginning

Although ‘Texas Flood’ is usually associated almost exclusively with Stevie Ray Vaughan – understandable given his masterful treatment – the song actually had a captivating history years before reaching Vaughan. As the song’s title would imply, the story begins in the American Southwest.

Larry Davis was an Arkansas native bluesman who started on drums, later switched to bass and later still wound up a guitar player. Collaborating with Joseph Scott, an arranger and A&R man with Duke Records, the two men created a dark, foreboding metaphor for a doomed relationship.

Well I'm leavin' you baby, Lord I'm goin' back home to stay
Well I’m leaving’ you baby, Lord I’m goin’ back home to stay
Well where there's no floods or tornadoes, baby the sun shines every day

Fate was not kind to either man. Scott would die at the age of 54, never getting to see his masterwork become an oft-covered classic.

Davis did live long enough to hear deeply memorable renditions of ‘Texas Flood,’ but his life was not filled with joy. A 1972 motorcycle accident rendered his left side temporarily paralyzed. It would take a decade to recover, slowing down whatever momentum his career had attained.

When he died in 1994, at the age of 57, his body of work was largely unknown to most fans of the blues.

As often happens in music, the song would live a longer, happier life than the singer. Fenton Robinson (who played guitar on the original) released a scorching version in 1974. Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson and Albert King all added their unique touches to the song. But the rendition that has had the most lasting impact was committed to wax in 1983.

‘Texas Flood’ is the kind of blues classic that will be covered forever.

Enter Stevie Ray

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s version of Texas Flood begins with a lengthy guitar vamp that carves right into the listener’s soul. After a few loud pounds at the door with his guitar, Vaughan kicks the door off the hinges with his vocals. His voice explodes with regret, sorrow and remorse. It is a truly stunning piece of work that should have made its authors, burst with pride.

Texas Flood Lyrics

Well there's floodin' down in Texas
All of the telephone lines are down
Well there's floodin' down in Texas
All of the telephone lines are down
And I've been tryin' to call my baby
Lord and I can't get a single sound

Well dark clouds are rollin' in
Man I'm standin' out in the rain
Well dark clouds are rollin' in
Man I'm standin' out in the rain
Yeah flood water keep a rollin'
Man it's about to drive poor me insane

Well I'm leavin' you baby
Lord and I'm goin' back home to stay
Well I'm leavin' you baby
Lord and I'm goin' back home to stay
Well back home are no floods or tornados
Baby and the sun shines every day

Exit Stevie Ray

As with the song’s originators, Vaughan would die years too young. Perishing in a helicopter crash in 1990, Stevie Ray Vaughan left behind a staggering body of work, and Texas Flood may the one he’s most remembered for.

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s red-hot version of ‘Texas Flood’ is the blues at his best.