New Soul/Blues: The Fabulous Thunderbirds — ‘Strong Like That’


The Fabulous Thunderbirds — Strong Like That

Label: Severn Records

Yes, they’re still pretty fabulous, if perhaps a tad too smooth. With their fusion of blues, rock & roll, and R&B, the Fabulous Thunderbirds popularized roadhouse Texas blues in the ’80s and became one of the most inflential bands in that subgenre. Since then, they’ve continued pleasing audiences.  They do what they do very well, but maybe they could use a nudge to push them toward less predictable material. The band has slipped into a mid-tempo R&B sameness. But take heart—they can still occasionally ignite things and create some more exciting moments. On their latest album, Strong Like That, The Fabulous Thunderbirds just don’t spread their artistic wings quite wide enough.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds are: Kim Wilson’s (better-than-ever) soulful vocals and blues harp, backed up by guitarist Johnny Moeller, bassist Steve Gomes, keyboardist Kevin Anker, and Rob Stupka’s groove-setting drums. Guest artists include: Anson Funderburgh (lead guitar), steel gutarist Roosevelt Collier, Wes Watkins (drums), Kenny Rittenhouse (trumpet), Joe Donegan (trumpet), Antonio Orta (tenor sax and flutes), Bill Holmes (trombone) and Sara Mia (on background vocals). These are all solid musicians, and everything is played as well as it could be—especially the horns—but the whole effort could use some amping up of passion and drama. Then it wouldn’t seem like such an effort.

Essential Downloads: “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” “Meet Me On The Corner,” “Where’s Your Love Been.”

To purchase this album on iTunes, click here.

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