The Fabulous Thunderbirds

It is the curse of the blues musician, the tragic twist of fate that seems to haunt every player since Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads in exchange for musical immortality. The Crossroads Curse is rumored to have struck Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, all of whom had reached commercial success with their blues-driven rock songs before death cut their careers short.

Then there is the case of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, a Texas blues-rock band that has been rocking steady since 1979, pleasing blues purists and fellow musicians, but only breaking into the Top 40 once with the 1986 hit "Tuff Enuff." And that success came with turning off the band's most loyal followers, who accused the song of being too commercial. Call it the Cross-Genre Curse. But since the release in 2005 of their thirteenth album, Painted On, the Thunderbirds have received critical acclaim from perhaps the harshest critics of all — the blues elite — after being nominated for five 2006 Blues Music Awards, including Band of the Year.

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