'Girls Go Wild'
Chrysalis Records /
I remember it well --- the first time I heard
'Girls Go Wild', the 1979 debut album on Chrysalis Records from
The Fabulous Thunderbirds. I thought it was a fantastic set of blues
from the first time we spun the platter on our turntable, and nothing
since then has changed my mind. It remains the best thing this venerable
band has ever recorded. I was living in the Washington, D.C. area back
then and was a semi-regular at shows by some of the other local blues
bands like The Nighthawks and The Charlottesville Blues All-Stars. But
hearing 'Girls Go Wild was a revelation, with their mix of Texas
shuffle and Excello-influenced Louisiana swamp blues.
We went to see the T-birds in concert shortly after
the album was released --- for the mere cover charge of only $2. The
price of admission included a souvenir pin-on button promoting 'Girls
Go Wild' --- I've still got that button somewhere.
Back then, The Fabulous Thunderbirds consisted of
bandleader, singer and harmonica player Kim Wilson, guitarist Jimmy
Vaughan (none of us had yet even heard of his soon to be famous little
brother, Stevie Ray), bassist Keith Ferguson, and drummer Mike Buck. Wow
--- what an ensemble! This original lineup was together from 1976 until
1980, at which time Buck was replaced by drummer Fran Christina.
The album starts out with a Wilson original, the
mid-tempo blues shuffle "Wait On Time," showcasing Wilson's strong
vocals and Vaughan's stinging Texas guitar. The second cut goes goes
down to Louisiana with an excellent cover of Slim Harpo's seminal
"Scratch My Back," starting out with Wilson's swampy harmonica. In the
same vein is the cover of Jerry McCain's "She's Tuff," with Wilson
contributing the same "huh huh huh" laugh as on the original.
Vaughan's tough blues guitar is featured on the
slow blues "Full-Time Lover," while Wilson demonstrates more soulful
range on vocals here. Another great example of Vaughan's guitar work is
on the feel good tune, "Walking To My Baby," on which Wilson sings, "
... I've got to get to my baby, She lives cross town, She's the finest
thing for miles around ..." What a great tune!
Wilson most prominently shows off his harmonica
prowess on the instrumentals "Pocket Rocket" and "C-Boy's Blues."
The re-issued version of 'Girls Go Wild' on
Benchmark Recordings includes three bonus cuts --- Magic Sam's "Look
Whatcha Done," "Please Don't Lie to Me," and "Things I Forgot to Do," a
reconfigured version of Guitar Slim's classic "The Things That I Used To
Do." The addition of the three extra songs makes this album even more of
a valuable keepsake.
Girls (and boys), go wild, and get this classic
album for your collection now!
--- Bill Mitchell