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Superbird (SBIRD20036)

Boom Bapa Boom, Don't Cha Know, Hey Yeah, Flamenco Doctor, Sweet Soul Vibe, Tilt A Whirl, Six Strings Down, Just Like Putty, Two Wings, Love The World, Strange Pleasure, Like A King, Lost In You, Out There,  Can't Say No, The Ironic Twist, Positively Meant To Be, Motor Head Baby, Kinky Woman, Astral Projection Blues, Little Son Big Sun.

Jimmie Vaughan has been around a long time. It was 1975 when, along with Kim Wilson, he formed The Fabulous Thunderbirds - the house band for the Austin blues club, Antones. It wasn't long before they gained a reputation as one of the tightest blues outfits around and when they released their first clutch of albums Girls Go Wild, What's The Word, Butt Rockin' and T-Bird Rhythm, they were held in high regard by fans and fellow musicians alike. Sadly, although their live gigs and the LPs were well received by those in the know, commercial success eluded them and after a few changes of record company, the musicians went their own ways: Kim Wilson to form a succession of hard-hitting blues bands and guesting on albums by Bonnie Raitt, James Cotton and Kid Ramos while Jimmie joined his brother Stevie Ray Vaughan to record Family Style just weeks before Stevie's tragic death.

The two albums rereleased on this CD were 1990's comeback LPs after a rest from the music scene. The music here reminds me of early Thunderbirds material - good tuneful blues-based rockers with memorable melodies and great playing. Jimmie Vaughan provides the vocals in typically laid back Clapton-JJ Cale mode and cranks out guitar licks absorbed from Albert Collins, T-Bone Walker and Johnny Guitar Watson while Dr John, Denny Freeman, Niles Rodgers and George Rains lend support. Backing vocals are supplied by Harry Bowens Jr, Lou Ann Barton and Oren Waters.

It's roadhouse rock blended with Texas blues at its best, exemplified by numbers like the hard rockin' guitar blues showcase Just Like Putty, the sledgehammer stinging-but-soulful guitar romp Hey Yeah and the opening number Boom Bapa Boom - which takes off with daft lyrics, blistering drums, rollicking piano and spitting, stuttering guitar solos. It's just the kind of record that you have to listen with the volume turned on high!

Johnny Guitar Watson had a profound influence on Jimmie so it's nice to hear the stonking version of Motor Head Baby which has tons of guitar with high end treble. There are some surprises too like Flamenco Dancer which opens up with authentic sounding Spanish guitar before slamming into a great Texas shuffle driven along by George Rain's drumming, the neat chordings of B3 man Bill Willis and Jimmie's spot-on single string playing. Then there's the acoustic track Six Strings Down - a heartfelt tribute to his brother Stevie Ray and all the blues heroes of his youth.

I seemed to pass these by when they first came out, more fool me, this is really good stuff. ‘Scuse me now while I turn up the volume and annoy the neighbours...

Ask for SBIRD20036. Only £11.45 & p&p here at Red Lick

Review Date: January 2011

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