The Fabulous Thunderbirds Tickets for Sale

Founded by guitarist Jimmy Vaughn (brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn) and harmonica playing singer Kim Wilson in the fertile Austin Texas music scene of the mid '70s this band became the blueprint for all blues based bands that would come after them. Sonically the band stripped away the excesses of the hippie Blues Rock of the '60s and played lean rocking approximations of classic Chicago, Texas and Gulf Coast blues. Solos were short and the emphasis was on a low down rhythmic groove. Sartorially the band dressed in sharp suits and wore their hair short like a combination of their heroes(Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Slim, Slim Harpo)and a bunch of hoodlums in sharp contrast to the torn blue jeans and tie dye prevalent at the time. the band played close to 300 dates a year for nearly a decade and then had a huge hit with the record "Tuff Enuff". That record proved to be a fluke and founding member Jimmy Vaughn left after the death of his brother, forever changing the sound of the band. Wilson soldiers on with a group of good veteran players.

Guitarist Jimmie Vaughan formed the Fabulous Thunderbirds with vocalist/harpist Kim Wilson in 1974; in addition to Vaughan and Wilson, the band's original lineup included bassist Keith Ferguson and drummer Mike Buck. Initially, the group also featured vocalist Lou Ann Barton, but she left the band shortly after its formation. Within a few years, the Thunderbirds became the house band for the Austin club Antone's, where they would play regular sets and support touring blues musicians. By the end of the decade, they had built a strong fan base, which led to a record contract with the local Takoma Records.
< Prev 1 Next >
Oct 14 Sat 8:00 PM The Fabulous Thunderbirds & Elvin Bishop Montbleu
Stateline, NV
Buy Tickets
< Prev 1 Next >
In 1979, the Fabulous Thunderbirds released their eponymous debut on Takoma. The record was successful enough to attract the attention of major labels and Chrysalis signed the band the following year. What's the Word, the group's second album, was released in 1980 and it was followed in 1981 by Butt Rockin'. By the time the Thunderbirds recorded their 1982 album T-Bird Rhythm, drummer Mike Buck was replaced by Fran Christina, a former member of Roomful of Blues.

Although the Fabulous Thunderbirds had become favorites of fellow musicians — they opened shows for the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton — and had been critically well-received, their records didn't sell particularly well. Chrysalis dropped the band following the release of T-Bird Rhythm, leaving the band without a record contract for four years. While they were in limbo, they continued to play concerts across the country. During this time, bassist Keith Ferguson left the band and was replaced by Preston Hubbard, another former member of Roomful of Blues. In 1985, they finally landed another record contract, signing with Epic/Associated.

After the deal with Epic/Associated was complete, the T-Birds entered a London studio and recorded their fifth album with producer Dave Edmunds. The resulting album, Tuff Enuff, was released in the spring of 1986 and, unexpectedly, became a major crossover success. The title track was released as a single and its accompanying video received heavy play on MTV, which helped the song reach the American Top Ten. The success of the single sent the album to number 13 on the charts; Tuff Enuff would eventually receive a platinum record. "Wrap It Up," a cover of an old Sam & Dave song, was the album's second single and it became a Top Ten album rock track. Later in 1986, the T-Birds won the W.C. Handy Award for best blues band.