Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Fabulous Thunderbirds

  • T-Bird Rhythm [Chrysalis, 1982] B+
  • Tuff Enuff [CBS Associated, 1986] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

T-Bird Rhythm [Chrysalis, 1982]
In theory I always appreciated this Texas party band's penchant for understatement--most white bluesboys demean themselves and the music they love by playing it strictly for raunch. But in practice their albums were, if you'll pardon my jargon, boring. So new producer Nick Lowe, who could find a pop hook in a field holler, makes a difference. Both sides open with fetchingly offhand ravers, Kim Wilson works his shoo-fly drawl for gumbo lilt, and the mysterious J. Miller contributes the irresistible "You're Humbuggin' Me," which had me tearing through my Jimmy Reed records in a fruitless search for the original. B+

Tuff Enuff [CBS Associated, 1986]
The groove's tough enough, but like their fellow retroists the Bangles they don't write 'em as good as they pick 'em. This is the wages of retro--trying to replicate the musical spirit of a time that's passed means going against history and sacrificing the authenticity retroists live for. Can't blame Dave Edmunds for that. Or for the video, either. B-