After 17 years together, the Thunderbirds had developed a chemistry that seemed integral to their seamless R&B sound. So when guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, left last summer because of road fatigue, it seemed the group must be headed for a fall.
Don't count them out yet. On this release—the first with replacement guitarists Duke Robillard, formerly of Roomful of Blues, and Kid Bangham—the T-Birds just slip a little.
That they're still rough and tough and all that stuff is evidenced by the trampolining blues of "Born to Love You" and "Twist of the Knife."
The vocals are too wan, though, to put across a cover of Sam and Dave's "Ain't That a Lot of Love." In fact, for a lot of this album, singer Kim Wilson seems to have been standing a foot or so too far from the microphone.
While the band still has a terse, stimulating style, their sound is just a tad thinner, driven, at least for now, more by discipline, less by instinct. They do get cooking together on "Can't Stop Rockin'." And for covers, the band does hit a grand slam with Jr. Parker's "Feelin' Good."
Hell, give this new lineup a little seasoning. After a decade on the road, they'll be as tight as the old T-Birds. (Epic)