It was interesting to be reminded from the dusty memories of my youth where The  Fabulous Thunderbird’s song came from originally – Sam & Dave. This is a whole different thing – very funky; produced and recorded in Memphis at the legendary Stax Records.

From the  Wikipedia article on Sam and Dave: “Wexler wanted the Southern roots and gospel style of their live performances [on their records], so the pair were loaned to Stax to record, although they remained Atlantic Records artists. According to Wexler’s autobiography Rhythms & Blues, “Their live act was filled with animation, harmony and seeming goodwill. I put Sam in the sweet tradition of Sam Cooke or Solomon Burke, while Dave had an ominous Four Tops’ Levi Stubbs-sounding voice, the preacher promising hellfire.”

No doubt about it; they were a real double threat, very soulful! When you add the horns and steamy Stax production, you have something that is irreducible.

The Thunderbirds version is a great interpretation; nice pop music. It’s a little more “cool” maybe, benefiting from updated production values, clean elocution, good singing – Kim Wilson at his most soulful. Keyboards and Jimmy Vaughn’s guitar play the horn parts. It’s my favorite Thunderbirds track.

Listen to the Sam & Dave original here.

Watch and listen to the Thunderbirds version here.

But the Thunderbirds’ video is kinda sleazy, yo! The message I get is, “If women are attractive, seductive – and put out – they will be rewarded materially.”    I think we’ve all heard that too many times. And you know what? It’s a really sucky, unfair message. To me, the video diminishes the music.


So… two kind of different things, but the original here gets my props. Who would you have rather seen live – Sam & Dave at their height? Or the Thunderbirds? Don’t answer, it’s a rhetorical question. And not to belittle the Thunderbirds – good music is always at a premium.


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