On this day in music history: June 6, 1989 – “In Step”, the fourth studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble is released. Produced by Double Trouble and Jim Gaines, it is recorded at Kiva Sudios in Memphis, TN, Sound Castle and Summa Studios in Los Angeles, CA from January 25 – March 13, 1989. Following release of his third album “Soul To Soul” in 1985, and the double live set “Live Alive” in 1986, years of alcohol and substance abuse finally catch up with guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. While on a month long tour of Europe, Vaughan becomes ill and nearly dies from extreme dehydration. The musician finally sees the writing on the wall, immediately entering a drub rehab facility in London. Returning to the US, he continues to go through drug and alcohol rehabilitation, putting his career on hold for an extended period. Also during this time, Stevie Ray also files for divorce from his wife Lenora “Lenny” Darlene Bailey. The divorce proceedings drag on for nearly two years, keeping Vaughan from live or recording work. By early 1989, the guitarist is able to return to work. Fully focused and playing better than he had in years, Vaughan’s newly found sobriety, and the struggle to remain free of drugs and alcohol provides the inspiration for “In Step”. Several of the albums’ songs including “Tightrope”, Wall Of Denial", and “Crossfire”, are a direct result of his person experiences during the past four years. Another stand out on the album is the final track “Riviera Paradise”. Inspired partially by his idol Jimi Hendrix’s classics “Angel” and “Little Wing”, the nearly nine minute long instrumental becomes an instant classic. An artistic and commercial success upon its release, “In Step” is his best selling album to date, also winning Vaughan a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 1990. Sadly, it is the final album released by Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble before the guitarists death in August of 1990. In 1999, the album is reissued with four live bonus tracks and a short monologue by Vaughan talking about his struggles with substance abuse and becoming sober. It is also remastered and reissued as a hybrid SACD by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2011. The album is also reissued as a 200 gram vinyl LP by Analogue Productions in 2016, and again as a double LP set mastered at 45 RPM. “In Step” peaks at number thirty three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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