1986 The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Tough Enuff
Jimmie Vaughan was born in Texas and moved to Austin in the late sixties, where he played guitar in several different groups. When he was only 18, the group he was in opened at a Jimi Hendrix Experience concert. In 1974, he joined with singer/harmonica player Kim Wilson to form the Fabulous Thunderbirds. A large number of other musicians have been in and out of the group.
Bass player Keith Ferguson and drummer Fran Christina were with the group when they recorded and released their first album in 1979. Their music focused on Texas Blues.
The Thunderbirds were a popular act and even opened for the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, but sales of their blues recordings were always thin. The one time they had a hit record came with the release of Tuff Enuff. Dave Edmunds (who had a hit single with his cover of I Hear You Knocking in 1971) produced the record. It put them in the top ten on the Hot 100 in the Spring of 1986. Three more singles reached the Hot 100 in the next two years, but none of them got close to the top forty.
Jimmie left the Thunderbirds in 1990 to make time to record an album with his younger brother. Stevie Ray also played guitar and had gained international attention after playing on several singles for David Bowie. His single, Crossfire, had also topped the US Mainstream Rock chart in 1989. After they finished the album, but before they released it, Stevie Ray died in a helicopter crash. The album, Family Style, won the Grammy award for the Best Contemporary Blues Recording.
Jimmie kept working primarily as a solo artist and released eight more albums. He appeared in the film Blues Brothers 2000, playing guitar in BB King’s fictional band, the Louisiana Gator Boys.
Jimmie still tours as a solo act and released his most recent album in 2019.
A series of guitar players replaced Jimmie in the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Kim continues to lead a touring group. They released their most recent album in 2016.
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