It's very difficult to play the blues now without sounding tired and old hat, but the Fabulous Thunderbirds, especially on this and their second album manage to avoid cliche. They have an authenticity to their sound that is raw, primitive and greasy. Jimmy Vaughan plays the guitar with huge amounts of space, so far behind the beat that he sometimes sounds as if he's never going to hit the note. Its a style that's almost the opposite of the pyrotechnics of his more famous brother, Stevie Ray. For a bunch of white boys playing the blues they don't have sound black. They "ain't nuthin but fine, fine, fine!"
Back before the current 'Blues Boom' (everyone going all 'rootsy'), or even the previous one (SRV inspired Strat-and-hat 'searing' guitar types), this record was a shining beacon, showing us that rhythm and blues music could honour it's roots while still looking forward, and that there was a (cool) alternative to the blues-rock smugness of all those guitar 'heroes'. Kim Wilson's New Orlean's R&B came together with Jimmy Vaughan's crisp, lyrical guitar to give us a record that was punchy, hip, and tight, with an attitude that managed to sit well with a post punk British sensibility (one that was DEFINITELY having nothing to do with Clappers and that crowd). Whilst some of the later Thunderbirds albums are best left alone this and the follow-up 'What's The Word' remain the high water mark for R&B combo's. At least round my house.
The Fabulous Thunderbirds really took off with this their rocking debut-album in 1979. I'll never forget hearing their cover of the Slim Harpo classic Scratch My Back on the radio and simply having to find out who the hell that band was (this was back in the days before the Internet). The whole album sounds as fresh today as it did back then. The blues served up Texas-style with just the right attitude (love the hilarious cover as well) and magnificent musicianship This and the follow-up album What's The Word are the Fab. T-Birds at their very peak and must-haves for every afficionado! What's the word? Thunderbird!