Picks and Pans Review: Hot Number

updated 08/10/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/10/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Hey, Bruce Willis, check out the Thunder-birds' new album. This is exactly the type of strong bluesy R&B feel you tried for and failed to get on your recording debut. That's because the righteous in-the-pocket style flaunted by this Texas quartet is impossible to duplicate. Heck, it took the T-Birds six albums and 10,000 one-night stands to sound this good. Singer and harp player Kim Wilson's only flaw as the band's principal songwriter is a tendency towards glibness (e.g. Love in Common). But melodically his compositions are always basic and punchy. Stand Back and the title track recall the classic Stax releases that Isaac Hayes and David Porter wrote for Sam and Dave. Guest keyboard player Chuck Leavell, formerly of the Allman Brothers, kicks in some nice organ and piano textures, notably the boogie-woogie tickle he gives It Comes to Me Naturally. The Memphis Horns add propulsion to a number of tracks. The T-Birds themselves, Wilson, guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, drummer Fran Christina and bassist Preston Hubbard, are in no wise extravagant or flashy. Instead, they have the innate discipline to play within themselves while mustering all the bubbling chemistry of a great bar band round about closing time. (CBS Associated)

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