Monday, January 21, 2013

The Fabulous Thunderbirds--Tuff Enuff (1986)

     By the 1980's, there had been enough time passed in the history of rock music to have spawned what I call road warriors. In the 50's and 60's, there was still a prevailing feeling that the music would someday fade away and many an artist who didn't "make it" in a few years, would give it up and "get a real job". Many of those artists that you see onstage today from that era had taken a hiatus for a decade or two before reforming to take advantage of the nostalgia boom over the last 20 years.(although there are more than a few exceptions to that...especially in r&b and soul)
     By the early 70's, an entire generation had grown up knowing nothing more than rock began to see it as a life long career rather than a youthful fling. Many of these musicians were more interested in the music and lifestyle than the money (although no one ever gave up THAT pursuit either). This began the rise of groups that would make their living from tour to tour, connecting with the people without the help of radio or marketing.
     Over the years there have been times where a song from a group would intersect the public taste and they would have one or two hits.....which brings us to The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
     The group formed in 1974 as a blues band. After a couple of years they became the house band at Antone's in Austin where they continued playing the blues, but in backing many other artists they developed the style that the group became known for. By 1979, they had a record deal with a local label. It did well enough that a year later they signed a major deal with Chrysalis. Their popularity began to grow, especially with other musicians, however this did not lead to strong record sales and they were dropped from the label in the mid-80's. Soon picked up by Epic a year later, they had revamped the group somewhat and were ready to move in a fresh direction.
     The single "Tuff Enuff" was produce by Dave Edmunds and broke them through to a wide audience, reaching #10 in the summer of 1986. It also began a series of popular hits ("Wrap It Up", and "Powerful Stuff") which kept them in the limelight for the next three years. Although the singles action ended in 89, they never stopped releasing albums or touring and to this day remain a top club draw. You can find out more about their new album and tour here:



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