THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS - Girls Go Wild (1979) & Live (2000)
With their fusion of blues, rock & roll, and R&B, the Fabulous Thunderbirds helped popularize roadhouse Texas blues with a mass audience in the '80s and, in the process, they helped kick-start a blues revival during the mid-'80s. During their heyday in the early '80s, they were the most popular attraction on the blues bar circuit, which eventually led to a breakthrough to the pop audience in 1986 with their fifth album, Tuff Enuff. The mass success didn't last too long, and founding member Jimmie Vaughan left in 1990, but the Fabulous Thunderbirds remained one of the most popular blues concert acts in America during the '90s. Guitarist Jimmie Vaughan formed the Fabulous Thunderbirds with vocalist/harpist Kim Wilson in 1974; in addition to Vaughan and Wilson, the band's original lineup included bassist Keith Ferguson and drummer Mike Buck. Initially, the group also featured vocalist Lou Ann Barton, but she left the band shortly after its formation. Within a few years, the Thunderbirds became the house band for the Austin club Antone's, where they would play regular sets and support touring blues musicians. By the end of the decade, they had built a strong fan base, which led to a record contract with the local Takoma Records. In 1979, the Fabulous Thunderbirds released their eponymous debut on Takoma. The record was successful enough to attract the attention of major labels and Chrysalis signed the band the following year.
Like spiritually similar brethren George Thorogood (only with a Tex-Mex flair, natch), the Thunderbirds have released a live disc on the CMC imprint. This appropriately monikered Live does a fine job of displaying the hits, namely "Wrap It Up" and "Tuff Enuff," and that alone would make it a decent primer for the band, though purists would no-doubt be able to find one or a dozen missing gems from the band's vast catalog. Gearheads will appreciate the modern technology used to capture the band's set - this is outlined nicely in the liner notes, though those same liner notes refer to the disc as This Night in L.A., which is bound to create confusion.
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