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Stevie Ray Vaughan : Caught in the Crossfire Paperback – June 5, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Austin-based journalists Patoski and Crawford pen a rousing account of Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who died at age 35 in a 1990 helicopter crash. The Dallas-born Vaughan began playing electric guitar in imitation of older brother Jimmie, who founded the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Both brothers were fixtures of the 1960s and '70s Austin scene, which spawned such rock acts as ZZ Top and allowed Stevie Ray to form his own band, Double Trouble. Vaughan's biggest break was playing on David Bowie's 1983 Let's Dance album; when he brazenly rejected Bowie's offer to tour, he garnered music-industry notice. Later, as his career skyrocketed, Vaughan abused cocaine and whiskey. He underwent treatment in 1986, a process which sealed his friendship with guitarist and recovered heroin addict Eric Clapton. Afterward, Vaughan became a preachy proponent of AA's 12-step program; he is reverently portrayed here as an inspiration to troubled fans. Backed up by plenty of blues history, this enthusiastic tribute ably succeeds as a narrative, adopting the down-home colloquialisms of its subject. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The authors provide a penetrating first biography of blues/rock guitar virtuoso Vaughn (1954-90). Through the use of extensive interviews, they succeed particularly well in describing Vaughan's childhood relationships with his abusive father and his older brother, who served as a role model. The authors chart Vaughan's initial interest in music, his emergence on the Texas music scene, his 1983 breakthrough, and his continued rise to superstardom until his untimely death in a helicopter crash. Writing in a breezy, engaging style, they offer an intimate look at the insecurities and abilities of Vaughan to explain his sometimes tortured, drug-dominated life and his fiery, powerful music. Highly recommended for general music collections.
- David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Reprint edition (June 5, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316160695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316160698
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joe Nick Patoski has been writing about Texas and Texans for four decades. A former cab driver and staff writer for Texas Monthly magazine and one-time reporter at the Austin American-Statesman, he has authored and co-authored biographies of Selena and Stevie Ray Vaughan, collaborated with photographer Laurence Parent on books about the Texas Mountains, the Texas Coast, and Big Bend National Park, all published by University of Texas Press, in addition to writing Generations on the Land: A Conservation Legacy (Texas A&M Press) and Texas High High School Football: More Than the Game (Texas Historical Commission).

His 2008 book Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, published by Little, Brown, was recognized by The Friends of the TCU Library in 2009 with the Texas Book Award for the best book about Texas written in 2007-8. His most recent book for Little, Brown is The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America.

His most recent books were Generations on the Land, published by Texas A&M in January 2011, profiles nine families across the western United States who have been recognized for outstanding stewardship in practicing sustainable farming, ranching, logging, and wine-grape growing; and Texas High School Football: More Than The Game, a catalog of the exhibit he curated for the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in 2011.

Patoski's new book is The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America, published by Little, Brown in October 2012. The expansive eight hundred page book explains how and why a 1960 expansion franchise in the National Football League became America's Team and the most valuable franchise in sports.

Patoski's byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, TimeOut New York, Garden and Gun, and No Depression magazine, for whom he is a contributing editor. He also recorded the oral histories of B.B. King, Clarence Fountain of the Blind Boys of Alabama, Memphis musician and producer Jim Dickinson, Tejano superstar Little Joe Hernandez, and 15 other subjects for the Voice of Civil Rights oral history project sponsored by AARP and the Library of Congress, some of which appeared in the book My Soul Looks Back in Wonder by Juan Williams, published by Sterling in 2004.

Patoski writes about water, land, nature and parks for a number of publications including Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, the Texas Observer, and National Geographic magazine, where his story about the Transboundary Megacorridor of southwest Texas and northern Coahuila and Chihuahua was published in February 2007. He also wrote a four-part series about water fights throughout the Guadalupe River basin for the San Antonio Current.

He lives near the village of Wimberley in the Texas Hill Country where he swims and paddles in the Blanco River.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I received Caught in the Crossfire as a gift, and I must admit I was skeptical at first. The ominous black cover featuring SRV's silouette seemed to serve as a warning of its content. I feared that the book would only undermine what every fan, indeed everyone who has ever heard of Stevie Ray Vaughan, already knows. That he was, for so long "caught" in a world of reckless drug abuse and alcoholism, but somehow managed to make it to the top. What I found was a biography, mostly matter-of-fact, which left no stone unturned in its research. Every friend, colleague, artist; famous or infamous, who impacted Stevie's career and tragically short life finds their way onto the pages of this work. The bibliography of interviews, while not necessarily reading as a "who's who" in the world of blues, includes individuals who were closest to the guitar legend throughout his life. Paramount of these is his own brother Jimmy. Though not mentioned in the list of exclusive interviews conducted for the book, Jimmy Lee Vaughan's influential guidance in the life of his younger brother is well documented by Patosky. As SRV's hero and kin, we learn where much of Stevie's love for blues music and guitar is rooted. Stevie's mentors in music, from blues legends Albert King and Albert Collins, to Jimi Hendrix and Bonnie Rait are uniquely enveloped in the carnival of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedys of his life. Though at times it tries to unnecessarily re-enact moments in an almost movie script-like format, Caught in the Crossfire is without question the most in depth biography to date of the life of one of the greatest guitar players of our time. It is very well written, and a must for any fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan's music.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Blind Mello Jelly on May 30, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a guitar player and a huge fan of music and the blues specifically. Although I never had a lot of SRV's records, his playing blew me away, as it did most folks. Many years after his death I thought I'd read this and I absolutely couldn't put it down. Patoski transports you back to SRV's beginnings - his family, his famous brother, the bars and dives he played while paying his dues. I've never had a better overview of the Texas music scene spanning over 20 years. But most of all, this book made me love the man. Stevie overcame great obstacles. He conquered his addictions and became a living example of a survivor, only to die tragically in a helicopter crash. It truly broke my heart after reading this book and learning the details of his life. Not only for music fans, but also for anyone wanting to read about recovery and redemption. This story would make a great movie.....but it would be a tear-jerker.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. MILLS on July 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very detailed. The author conducted what must have been hundreds of interviews with friends, acquaintances and family. He consulted as many newspaper and magazine articles and no doubt walked the streets of Austin and Oak Cliff. The result is a detailed description of his subject and the environment. Yet it's not a forest for the trees situation. The details do not drown out the overall story. Sometimes excessive details can make a book boring or hard to follow. Not in this case.

The author begins the story with the Vaughan's migration to Texas from Kentucky. He also describes the evolution of Dallas as a music town starting as early as Blind Lemon Jefferson. Stevie's years as a school boy in Dallas, his years playing small clubs in Austin, and his nonpublic life are described in as much detail perhaps more indepthly than his life as a famous blues superstar.

SRV lived his entire life the same way he played guitar: pedal to the metal. Drugs, girls, partying, jamming were all done fast and hard until he passed out from exhaustion. After 18 hours or more of sleep, it would start all over again.

After decades of life pedal to the metal it is amazing that he survivied. But he didn't just survive. He cleaned himself up and became a better person. It seems like he was a nice person. He spent a lot of effort helping other musicians especially underappreciated blues musicians. He insisted that his Double Trouble bandmates received the same salary as he even though clearly SRV was the only reason people came to see Double Trouble.

The book also explores the mystery of the 1982 Montreaux Jazz Festival performance where the band was booed.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By BDH on December 21, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a better than average biography. It's well written and the story flows nicely. It depicts the life of Stevie the child (lonely, insecure, shy; and extremely talented though highly intoxicated), straight through to Stevie the man (loving, outgoing, helpful; extremely talented still, though very sober). All too often people pass away at a time in life when all of the demons inside of them have been put to rest. God must see that as a successful ending and a good time to be brought home. SRV's blues guitar style and spirited persona will live on with us forever. This book was an excellent read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chuck R. on October 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
The life story of Stevie Ray is one of the most interesting I have had the opportunity to read. The book starts years before his birth until after his passing, and this book really clues you in to how he became such and intense player. His story is about a man following in his brothers foot steps who decided the only direction in his life was to play guitar wheather he lived in the gutter or lived rich and famous. It opens your eyes into the musician's life styles and how they got there.
The only drawback to the book was that sometimes the authors get side tracked into too much detail (history of Dallas, Austin, his Mother and Father...), and the language is pretty rough throughout the book. The story of Stevie Ray's life is written well enough that I read the book a second time as soon as I finished. Stevie Ray Vaughn had a unique life.
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