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Steve Toney's research on
the Soul to Soul sessions

From: Steven G. Toney
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997
Subject: Soul to Soul Sessions; The REAL Story

(Preface: The following is a LONG message which summarizes the results of my research into the details of the Soul to Soul sessions, and what portions of this session have appeared on CD. This is a detailed (at times maybe confusing) message. If you are not interested, please delete now.)

Many of you are aware that there is a tape series, consisting of 9 or 10 ninety-minute cassette tapes of Stevie Ray Vaughan in the studio. These tapes were the source of several different bootleg CDS. On TexasFlood, we have long discussed whether the source of the bootleg CDS is the ‘Soul-to-Soul' sessions. Until now, it was only conjecture as to what actually came from these sessions, and what material came from other sources.

I have completed a Stevie Ray ‘research project' (ne: labor of love) to settle the uncertainties of these discussions. Over the course of several weekends, I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat (complete with magnifying glass) got my watch out (with sweep second hand), and listened to all the tapes. Originally, I had eleven tapes, however, I discovered that two of the tapes are duplicates. My goal was to figure out the names of the songs, determine how many takes were made, label the takes, time the takes, characterize each take (instrumental, vocals, no vocals, wah pedal, drop-outs, loud and rowdy, soft and mellow, etc.), time the blank space in between takes, and characterize the spaces between takes (which in most cases is SRV, Tommy, or Chris practicing.)

Once the entire source tape set was labeled, timed, and characterized, I got out the CDS or copies of CDS that have been attributed to the Soul to Soul Sessions to determine if the songs are the same...and also to associate specific tracks on the CDS to specific takes on the tape series. (Thanks go out to Jim Zintz, who loaned me his Unsurpassed Masters CDS.)

To date...there have been six CDS or CD sets attributed to this studio session. These include:

The last set, A Tale Untold, is a duplication of the first set, with the exception that A Tale Untold has a few extra tracks on one of the CDS from a live concert SRV did.

It took a long time, but my discoveries and/or conclusions are provided below:

Two of my eleven Soul to Soul session tapes were duplicates. Most people I've seen that have this series says that it's 900 minutes, rather than 800 minutes (9 tapes x 90 minutes). So, unless I am missing some of the session, the actual length of the source tapes is roughly 800 minutes. Based on a comparison with the Life Without You four-CD set, I don't think that I am missing any tapes, however, since I was able to associate all 59 CD tracks to a ‘take' on the tapes that I have. That gave me a ‘warm fuzzy' feeling that I have all the source tapes. So, you might want to consider changing your lists from 900 minutes to 800 minutes (...or 810 minutes for you mathematicians out there).

As stated in the above paragraph, all of the 59 tracks on the Life Without You four-CD set are from these nine tapes. On my copies, the sound quality of the CDS was superior to the tapes.

There are still some songs that Stevie cut during the sessions that have not been committed to CD yet. Also, there are some killer takes that weren't included on any of the six releases summarized above. Even so, if a person has the Life Without You set, he/she has pretty much a 90 percent representation of the material on the nine tapes. (i.e. You'd probably be happy with the CDS and trading for the entire nine tape series wouldn't add much ‘meat' to your collection.)

Accolades , Volume 3 is mostly from this session. I could not identify the source of three takes on Accolades , Vol 3. Eleven takes were positively identified as being from the nine tape S2S series. Of the eleven takes from the S2S sessions, eight takes exist on either the LWY four disk set, or the Unsurpassed three disk set, or both. Three songs are not duplicated on either LWY or Unsurpassed . (conclusion: If you desire as many takes on CD as possible, you should get Accolades ... if you are lucky enough to find it.)

All 14 tracks from Best of Soul to Soul Sessions are from the nine-tape set. All 14 tracks are duplicated from the Life Without You set and most are duplicated on the Unsurpassed Masters set. (conclusion: If you have the Life Without You set or Unsurpassed sets, you don't need the BOS2S CD.)

The three CDS in the Unsurpassed Masters series are made up of 45 tracks. All 45 tracks are from the S2S session tapes. As for Life Without You, the sound quality of the Unsurpassed Masters series is better than the tapes I have. Of the 45 tracks on Unsurpassed , there are 44 different take is duplicated. Of the 44 takes, 26 of the takes also exist on the Life Without You series, and 18 takes are ‘new' to CD, although most of the ‘new' stuff are just alternate takes of the same songs that are on the LWY set. (conclusion: If you are a ‘completist' desiring everything that's out on SRV, you should get all three Unsurpassed disks, since they all have ‘new' material. Otherwise, if you have LWY, you would not need to buy Unsurpassed to get a good representation of the Soul to Soul sessions...same if you have Unsurpassed ; you wouldn't need to buy LWY.)

I found the CD entitled Touch The Sky to be the most interesting. First off, TTS is a mixture of several different recording sessions. Portions of this CD are taken from the Soul to Soul sessions and portions are from other sessions that are not part of the nine tape series. What's most interesting about TTS is that the tracks on this CD are ‘post-processed' tracks. In other words, the tracks have been processed...reverb added, errors deleted, maybe in some cases there were some overdubs (although I didn't specifically identify any cases of this). Comparing the tracks from the S2S sessions with the tracks on TTS, one can tell that they are the same tracks, but they have a different sound to them. It's obvious that the person who ‘leaked' these tapes was a real insider, close to the actual raw recording session tapes and then the mixed ‘masters.'

Of the 15 tracks on the TTS disk, seven tracks are from the nine-tape series. Eight tracks are from other recording sessions. Of the seven tracks from the S2S session, four of the tracks also appear on both the Life Without You four-disk set, and on the Unsurpassed Masters three-disk set. Three tracks appear on neither LWY or Unsurpassed. In addition, two of the tracks on TTS also appear on Accolades, Volume 3. Neither of these two tracks appear on LWY or Unsurpassed. (conclusion...Touch the Sky is one-half made up of material from the S2S sessions. Of this, some of the material is duplicated (albeit ‘post-mixed') in the LWY and Unsurpassed series, but there are three tracks that do not appear on any boot CDS.)

Final conclusion...most of the good stuff from the nine-tape Soul to Soul session series has been committed to CD, but there are still some tracks that are awesome that have not been put out on CD, but the number is probably less than five or six. For the most part, either the Life Without You series, or the Unsurpassed Masters series contains good representations of most of the material from the S2S sessions. Either series would be a good purchase for someone that wants additional unreleased Stevie studio material.

For the completist, you must have LWY series, Unsurpassed series, TTS, and Accolades to get ALL the different stuff from the S2S sessions that's been committed to CD, since each of these CDS has material that is not on any of the other CDS. Best of Soul to Soul sessions has no new material. This disk would be a waste for the completist, unless he/she simply wanted to collect everything released of SRV. Otherwise, all tracks on ‘Best of' are duplicates.

Obviously, to complete this project, I have completed detailed track lists for each of the tapes, including track titles, takes, times, notes, etc. If anyone has the entire S2S series and desires the DETAILED set list, please email me and I will provide it to you. Similarly, if you have any of the CDS and desire to assimilate the CD tracks with the S2S session tapes, email me and I will send you the necessary information.

An example of the detail with which I have compile this information follows.

Track 3 on the ‘Best of Soul to Soul' CD is entitled ‘Hug, Kiss, Squeeze'. The source of the track is ‘Hug, Kiss, Squeeze, Take 2' in the S2S session nine-tape series. It is located on Tape 2, Side B, track 2. Also, this take is 4 minutes, 25 seconds long and has SRV vocals (other takes do not have any vocals). The take is preceded by 3 minutes of drum tuning/practice/talking and SRV saying "hey motherf***er, do I tell you how to turn the knobs?" This take is also included on the Life Without You four-disk set (disk 2, track 3) and the Unsurpassed Masters three-disk set (disk 1, track 1).

I am providing this information to Bob Willmot so that it can be entered into the gig-database, for everyone to reference in the future. I'm not sure how this detailed info can be easily presented in an understandable manner, however, I have a couple ideas.

I hope that I have not bored you all with this message. I realize that it is VERY detailed and probably difficult to read...however, for those of you with the S2S nine-tape series and/or any of the referenced CDS, you should find the results of this ‘project' to be quite interesting and informative.

Not to be self-serving, but one reason that I conducted this research was the MANY questions that have been asked about these sessions in the past. Therefore, I am forwarding this letter, and the supporting information to Jack Klosterman for inclusion of this ‘data' in the SRV FAQ.

Another reason for it to be FAQed is that this effort took HOURS and HOURS to complete and we all need this to be a part of the ‘permanent' SRV record.

Thanks for your time.

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