The Fabulous Thunderbirds are an American blues rock band formed in Austin, Texas in 1974…..when after performing for several years in the Austin blues scene, the band won a recording contract with Takoma/Chrysalis Records….and later signed with Epic Records…..as their first two albums were released in 1979 and 1980….with Kim Wilson‘s lead vocals and harmonica, Jimmie Vaughan as lead guitarist, and Keith Ferguson on bass guitar…..while Mike Buck was on drums for the first album….but left the band and was replaced by Fran Christina on the second….as both albums initially sold through the small number printed of about 3000 units….and are now regarded as significant blues recordings. The Thunderbirds’ blues style mixed Texas blues with the harmonica-laced swamp blues sounds of Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester….both of whom the Thunderbirds covered. The band’s third album, Butt-Rockin’ was released in 1981….which took the band closer to old rhythm and blues and added additional musicians playing piano and brass.
Although the Fabulous Thunderbirds had become favorites of fellow musicians….while opening shows for the likes of the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton…..and had been critically well-received, the band’s records did not sell well….so, Chrysalis dropped the band following the release of T-Bird Rhythm ….which left the band without a contract for four years…..and while still in limbo, the Fabulous Thunderbirds continued to play concerts across the U.S….when during this time, bassist Keith Ferguson left the band and was replaced by Preston Hubbard, a former member of Roomful of Blues….also during this time, the band was featured on the 1983 Carlos Santana album Havana Moon. In 1985, the band finally landed another recording contract with Epic/Associated…..when the single “Tuff Enuff” was featured in the 1986 film Gung Ho…..and was also featured in the film Tough Guys….as was the follow-up single, “Wrap It Up”…. which went to # 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart….while “Tuff Enuff” remains the band’s only Top 40 hit after peaking at # 10 on the Billboard Hot 100….and the album Tuff Enuff went gold in several countries….and was subsequently certified platinum in the United States….with sales of over one million. The band’s music was also used in the 1987 movie Hot Pursuit….plus the Vaughan–Wilson composition “Twist It Off” appears in the 1987 Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett film Light of Day….and on the issued soundtrack….as the band also appears in the film performing the song live.
Jimmie Vaughan left the band in 1990 to record a long-awaited album with his brother Stevie Ray Vaughan, “Family Style”…..as the Vaughan brothers were by far the greatest blues and rock guitarists to ever come out of Austin, Tx…..and following Stevie Ray’s death in 1990, Jimmie pursued a full-time solo career.
As seen in this video herewith…..The Fabulous Thunderbirds song “Wrap It Up” in accompaniment with highlights from the 1986 MLB National League Championship Series between the New York Mets vs. Houston Astros brings back an avalanche of memories to our Bone Daddy, the original Sportsphile, who not only attend all six games of the NLCS…..but also did a lot of “butt-rockin” to live music from The Fabulous Thunderbirds at Antoine’s on 6th St in Austin….which was just one block away of BD’s bar Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place….so, this video contains a whole lot of memories of the times when the video library here at ImaSportsphile was being recorded.