25 Days Until Christmas

Welcome back to day three of me going through some of the favorite Christmas songs in my collection – and I’ll keep going until December 25. I first bought “An Austin Rhythm and Blues Christmas” on cassette in the mid-80s. As near as I can tell, it’s now out of print, but available for streaming and download, so that’s all you really need.

There’s not a clunker on “An Austin Rhythm and Blues Christmas,” but today, let’s go with The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Remember them? Stevie Ray Vaughn’s older brother, Jimmie, on lead guitar?  “Tuff Enuff” was their big hit in 1986.

The T-Birds have two songs on “An Austin Rhythm and Blues Christmas.” The first is “Merry Christmas Darling” – not The Carpenters tune, but a blues cover written by Hop Wilson and Ivory Lee Semiens. My pick though is the second Fabulous Thunderbirds song, the standard “Winter Wonderland.”

It’s short. It’s an instrumental – other than a few shout-outs from harmonica player/singer Kim Wilson – and not that hard to play on the harp yourself. (Even I learned it way back when.)

Like I say, the whole album is great. Lou Ann Barton, Charlie Sexton, Angela Strehli. Willie Nelson even loaned out a cut from his own 1979 Christmas album to close it out.

As for The Fabulous Thunderbirds, they’re still recording and (eventually) touring. Kim Wilson is the only original member, but he still sounds strong at 69. Here’s a number from a live stream he did just a couple weeks ago with Nathan James and The Rhythm Scratchers. Check out the combo electric guitar and washboard.