Strong Like That

Although this album’s title might suggest otherwise, I found Kim Wilson’s return to the Fab T-Birds format—singing and playing harmonica backed by a small combo featuring guitarist Johnny Moeller (a nine-year T-Bird regular)—a huge disappointment: it’s weak. Long regarded as one of the top blues harpists, here, on the 10-song, 41-minute Strong Like That, I kept waiting for him to bust out blazing but instead suffered through his pallid playing and singing. He rarely plays a full chorus on this collection of mostly pop/soul songs (all but one with fade-outs), which deal with lost love, (e.g., “I Know I’m Losing You,” “Where’s Your Love Been?”) complete with a two-person background vocal section on four songs. Further backing includes a four-man horn section that provides a little sass and guitarist Anson Funderburgh briefly lends his talents on “Don’t Burn Me” (“I’ve been ripped off before/Don’t burn me”). Where’s the passion he and the T-Birds showed us on songs like “Why Get Up?” and the title track of their 1986 chart-busting LP, Tuff Enuff?