FAME Review: The Fabulous Thunderbirds - On the Verge
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The Fabulous Thunderbirds - On the Verge

On the Verge

The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Severn Records - CD 0058

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

There's a certain maturity, wisdom, and patience that comes with age (don't ask me how I know that, I ain't sayin'), and Kim Wilson has paid his dues long-term in such a fashion that not only has every successive album served to secure ever more solid returns in terms of quality but also depth, and this release, their 26th by my count (anthologies included) and the first in nearly a decade, only widens that bandwidth. On the Verge puts another nuance in the ensemble's very soul oriented approach, a wont that marked the band right from the beginning. Through the years, the T-Birds have attracted top guitar talent: Jimmy Vaughn (Stevie Ray's brother), Duke Robillard, Kid Ramos, etc., and now Mike Keller's in the hotseat (Johnny Moeller covers the rhythm-axe duties) as the fivesome vends its blend of Memphis / San Francisco / Philadelphia sounds.

For my money, Keller tends more to the Robillard years than otherwise, especially in his solos, and Wilson has waxed ever more proletarian and Harlem in his tonicities. He's not playing a hell of a lot of that famed harmonica here, but concentrating far more on his voice. One of the grittiest cuts of the release is the opening I Want to Believe, sounding a bit like a nod to Omar Kent Dykes (Omar & the Howlers), repeated again and more intensely in That's the Way We Roll, my fave song and the most Chicago-y track, taking a firm step back to the old foundation black blues that ignited Chi-town's transfusion of the mode. More than anything, though, this is without doubt a soul disc, so if you seem to detect a bit of Steve Cropper here, a bit of Booker T. there, and a number of other influences—well, that ain't no mistake.

Track List:

  • I Want To Believe (Anker / Earl / Gomes / Wilson)
  • Lovin' Time (Anker / Earl / Gomes / Wilson)
  • Too Much Water (Anker / Wilson)
  • Hold Me (Anker / Wilson)
  • Runnin' From The Blues (Frank Bermudes)
  • Do You Know Who I Am (Kim Wilson)
  • Got To Bring It With You (Giles / Jones / Wilson)
  • That's The Way We Roll (Kim Wilson)
  • Diamonds Won't Kiss You Back (Steve Gomes)
  • Lonely Highway (Anker / Earl / Gomes / Wilson)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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