I must be the only person in Dallas who didn't know him personally (or maybe just one of the few honest enough to admit it.) Still, I had known and loved his music when I was a rocker, and after his death, when I read the books written about him, it was he who led me to Lou Ann Barton. That was how I entered this wonderful world of Blues. Thanks Stevie.
Strangely enough, the night of the 10th Anniversary, I was at one of Lou Ann's shows. Although I have been very lucky to have had many, many conversations with Lou Ann, she never mentioned Stevie's death - too painful, too personal I would imagine. But that night, on stage, she told us it had been 10 years ago that evening and how much she still missed him. Then she, Derek O'Brien and the rest of the band jumped into a tribute of sorts of the songs she and Stevie had done together. A beautiful, touching moment.
His Mom never liked people talking much about the anniversary - I think she thought it celebrated his death instead of his life. Even so, 20 years (20 years!! Can it really be 20 years?) is a milestone and I did talk about it briefly, respectfully on my show yesterday and played 4 of his songs, because of course, those songs are his legacy, and keep him alive in our hearts.
Buddy Whittington was my guest in the studio. He came in to talk about his new CD "A Bag Full Of Blues" (gotta check out the awesome "Hideaway Medley") Buddy, a native Texas guitar legend himself, and I talked about the anniversary of Stevie's passing. I played Buddy's excellent song "Stevie Rave On". It's one of my all time favorite SRV tributes because although heartfelt, it's upbeat and celebrates the positives of his life. (It's on Buddy's first solo release "Buddy Whittington" - get yourself a copy, the whole CD is stellar.) Buddy commented that when he's in Austin and he can, he makes a point of going by to see the statue and can't help but think "Not bad for a boy from Oak Cliff."
No, not bad at all.
Also, strangely (if you haven't figured out by listening to the stories on the radio show by now, my life is full of sometimes wonderful, sometimes painful strange occurrences) I also happened to be in Austin the day of the unveiling and dedication of the statue. I had read some time before that they were going to put one up, but I had no idea when. Just fate, I guess, that I was there. Sometimes you're just in the right place at the right time. It was one of those big Texas blue sky days, and there was a feeling of love and comfort in the air. It was a day of healing. From what I know about him, I think Stevie would have been happy and proud.
So I think the fitting way to end this is with his own words. Most of us heard this song for the first time on the evening news because it got it's first public playing at his funeral here in Dallas at Laureland. I still think of it as the funeral song because of that, which is a shame, because when you listen to it, it's such a song of hope and looking forward to the future. And it is a reminder to us all that time is indeed ticking away. That is why I end my show every week by saying "Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other." You never know when the clock is going to stop for you or someone you love.
On August 27, 1990, Texas lost a true champion of the blues. But through the songs he left us, Stevie Rave On indeed!