Picks and Pans Review: Powerful Stuff

updated 05/22/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/22/1989 01:00AM

The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Like seasoned hourly laborers, the Texas T-birds know how to coast along and still create the illusion that they're giving you your money's worth. That's the case with Powerful Stuff, even though the Fabulous Thunderbirds didn't sweat much over this record, it's still a treat.

The ordinarily prolific Kim Wilson has written or co-written only three songs on the album. Another downside is that Wilson's spirited harp playing is almost nonexistent. That's balanced, however, by a greater helping than usual of Jimmie Vaughan's guitar chops. This record is also a tad fancier in production values and arrangement (especially harmonies) than is the norm for the Thunderbirds. That's most noticeable when the band strays into "Knock Yourself Out" and "Close Together," a couple of uncharacteristically airy rockers. When they play it closer to the vest, as on the lethal rattlesnake shake of "Mistake Number 1," they've never sounded better. If you're a follower of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Powerful Stuff may at times give you the distinct impression that the boys are drifting a bit. But somehow when the record's over, you have to acknowledge that they got the job done. Maybe when you had your back turned. (CBS Associated)

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