Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Blues, Pop, Rock
Back in the 1980s, Kim Wilson was merely one member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, a quartet that was as much a showcase for its never-waste-a-note guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, and its lean but rock-solid rhythm section, as it... more »
Back in the 1980s, Kim Wilson was merely one member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, a quartet that was as much a showcase for its never-waste-a-note guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, and its lean but rock-solid rhythm section, as it was for its lead singer and harmonica player. But Vaughan exited in 1990, bassist Preston Hubbard in 1994, and drummer Fran Christina in 1996. In 1997, the T-Birds are Wilson plus anyone he hires for a particular album or tour. On the road, that includes guitarist Kid Ramos, keyboardist Gene Taylor, bassist Willie Campbell, and drummer Jimi Botti. In the studio, the band is drummer-bassist Steve Jordan and guitarist Danny Kortchmar, who are Wilson's co-writers, co-producers and co-players on High Water. Best known for their work with Keith Richards and James Taylor respectively, Jordan and Kortchmar come out of rock backgrounds and tilt the T-Birds' blues-rock formula in that direction. In various combinations, Wilson, Jordan and Kortchmar wrote all dozen songs on High Water. The spare but muscular grooves are still there, but the catchy chorus melodies and rootsy flavor are both missing in action. Wilson's still a fine blues-and-soul singer, but he has too little to work with here. --Geoffrey Himes
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Spare, groove-based bluesy r'nb
James Daniell | 07/08/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Now that the Fab T's are (is?) just Kim Wilson plus backing band, I'm a little surprised at the changed sound on this release, probably in part due to working with different musicians to his usual working band. Very different to his solo traditional blues albums under his own Cannonball label.For a start, there's a definite hip-hop, almost drum-and-bass feel throughout, as if Kim's been listening to a few G Love or Little Ax albums. Repeated drum and keyboard loops are used, lead guitar is minimal, and the harmonica doesn't solo conventionally, rather the riffs mesh with the overall groove.This has both benefits and drawbacks - in songs such as "Too Much of Everything", the incorporation of hard-edged rhythms and swampy blues work well. Likewise in "Do Right by Me", the repeated keyboard figure give the track a brittle funk, while "High Water" has a dignified, powerful gospel feel, here the harmonica wails and bubbles under the groove, answering the righteousness of the lyrics. But the downfall is a reliance of too-similar beats and songs which occasionally sound half-finished. Too often the song choruses are merely the title chanted over and over, and few bridges and rhythm changes are used - even rap and hip-hop have breaks to mix-up the beats. Also the spare feel asks much of the vocalist, and Wilson, although one of the better white blues/r'nb singers around, is found lacking in variation once or twice - and to my ears, he often "over-souls" a little too much, his melismatic touches often sound contrived.That said, the ballad "Promises" has a gorgeous feel, helped by a fine guitar figure and heartfelt vocal - when he hits that final falsetto he sounds like a man brought to the edge.So a flawed effort, but often compelling enough to be worthwhile."
Rockin' roots blues
Otis R. Young | Semora, NC | 02/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yeah, we all miss Jimmie Vaughns contribution to the T'birds. But I miss Kim Wilson's turban too! However, neither one of them detracts from the fact that this an outstanding CD. This version of the band provides a solid rythym section and Kim Wilson's harp playing and vocals are some of his best.If you like the 'birds and their brand of boogie blues you'll like this CD! OK, maybe I do miss Jimmy's guitar a little bit."