The Fabulous Thunderbirds

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The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Postby blueswriter » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:46 pm

The Fabulous Thunderbirds
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Independent (2009)


11 tracks, 43 minutes. Recommended. When The Fabulous Thunderbirds first broke out of Austin, Texas in the mid-1970s, there was little doubt that the music the band played was heavily influenced by blues, rock n’ roll, swamp pop and much more. That hasn’t changed in the past thirty-plus years, and for those who still consider the outfit more of a straight-ahead blues band, one listen to their newest and their first self-released project proves that Kim Wilson and his current crew continue to ride roughshod all over the American musical landscape. The disc’s opener Satisfied is pure, old-fashioned rock n’ roll, while I’ll Be Around and Do You Know Who I Am, both straddle Southern soul very comfortably. Payback Time kicks off with slide guitar which isn’t too far from Delta blues, but about one minute in it becomes a throbbing rocker with Wilson’s gritty harmonica providing more highlights. There’s a hefty dose of rockabilly in Take Me As I Am and O.V. Wright’s Love The Way You Love shows perfectly just how far Wilson has come as a singer. Cat Squirrel, a lowdown blues gem from Doctor Ross, closes the disc on a perfect note. Production is faultless, with all the tracks blending from one to another regardless of the multiple grooves, which display Kim's talents whether he's in the recording studio or the producer's booth. Harmonica fans who prefer a blowdown from start to finish might be disappointed, but what Kim contributes is as tough as it's always been. As a songwriter, Wilson has always been very keen with a pen, and he had a hand in seven of the disc’s eleven tracks. Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller’s guitars continuously bob and weave around each other like seasoned boxers in the ring, while Randy Bermudes and Jay Moeller lay the backbeats down on a bed of asphalt. Lavelle White provides background vocals to a few, and keyboards are added to a handful with Kirk Fletcher’s guitar chops helping out here and there. Kim Wilson is the last remaining member from the original band which started some thirty-five years ago, but there’s little doubt that The Fabulous Thunderbirds still stand on firm ground as a great American rock and roll band today.

© 2010 by Craig Ruskey
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