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Live From New York: Meredith Monk, Will Mason & The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Martin Longley By

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The Fabulous Thunderbirds are still fronted by prime mover Kim Wilson (vocals/harmonica), who is indeed the co-founder core of this long-running blues combo. His harp achieved maximum throatiness on "Baby, Scratch My Back," by the mighty Slim Harpo, assisted by a flooding guitar solo from Johnny Moeller. Wilson went for one last walkabout amongst the frontal tables, serenading with his unplugged harmonica, and even singing without the aid of a microphone. Fittingly, another high point arrived with their climactic reading of "Tuff Enuff," a confirmed Thunderbirds classic. It's still a swagger for swiggers! Extended harp and guitar solos sent the reasonably stacked (and stoked) midweek crowd off into the night, perhaps to return for the club's final set of gigs by Buddy Guy. There have been many revelatory nights in this King joint, many of them provided by George Clinton , plus such fellow groove-monsters as Bootsy Collins, Little Richard, Bobby Blue Bland, and Larry Graham (with a guesting Prince). Farewell, ol' weed-puffin' joint!!!

Photograph: Stephanie Berger

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