Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Fabulous Thunderbirds - Tuff Enuff

While the Fabulous Thunderbirds 1986 album Tuff Enough was a commercial success, many fans and critics were disappointed by the record.  It's not as though Tuff Enough was a bad LP, but it represented a different, more commercial direction for the roadhouse blues band.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds were founded in 1974 and came out of the Austin, Texas blues scene.  Led by singer Kim Wilson and guitarist Jimmy Vaughan (the older brother of Stevie Ray), they released their first album, Girls Go Wild in 1979.  Three additional  strong blues albums followed through 1982, which were generally well reviewed by critics, but they did not become huge commercial successes.

That changed with Tuff Enough.  The album rose to #13 on the album charts and featured the two highest charting hits of the band's long career -- the title cut (which went to #10) and "Wrap It Up," which reached #50.  (Yes, that makes the Fabulous Thunderbirds an official one hit wonder).

Truth be told, the video for "Tuff Enough" is pretty cheesy.  It features stripper/construction workers doing their thing, while the band plays and occasionally interacts with them.  It was not a high point of 1980's videos.  It did, however, generate some airplay, so I suppose that it did its job.

The band saw steadily declining record sales through the 1980's and in 1989 Jimmy left the group to work with his brother.  The band continues to soldier on the the present day, with Kim Wilson as the only constant member.

Cool trivia fact:  Dave Edmunds produced the Tuff Enough album.

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