The Windbreakers

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  ()

- Eric Arhelper -- drums, percussion

- Tim Lee -- vocals, guitar

- Jeff Lewis -- lead guitar

- Bobby Sutliff -- vocals, guitar


  line up 1  (1989)

- Brue Golden -- percussion

- Tim Lee -- vocals, guitar

- Joe Partridge -- drums, percussion

- Raphael Semmes -- bass

- Bobby Sutliff -- vocals, guitar

- Mark Wyatt -- keyboards




- Gone Fishin' (Tim Lee)

- Howard and Tim's Paid Vacation  (Tim Lee)

- Tim Lee (solo efforts)

- Oral Soxx (Bobby Sutliff)

- Bobby Sutliff (solo efforts)



Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  At Home with Bobby and Tim

Company: DB Records

Catalog:  DB 95

Country/State: Jackson, Mississippi

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3511

Price: $20.00

I've always found it curious that most people associate southern alternative rock with Athens, Georgia.  Admittedly there were a disproportional number of such groups that called Athens home, but there were other places that had fertile musical scenes ...    I mean, how could you ever have forgotten Jackson, Mississippi?


In terms of personnel, 1989's aptly titled "At Home with Bobby and Tim" was a welcomed homecoming / reunion for the band.  Singer/guitarist Bobby Sutliff had dropped out of The Windbreakers following the release of 1986's "Run", leaving the follow-up "A Different Sort" essentially a Tim Lee solo effort.  But here the pair were back together and sounding as if nothing had changed.  Self-produced, musically the album wasn't a major departure from their earlier catalog, though sonically it was probably their most impressive and enjoyable project.  With Lee and Sutliff splitting the writing duties, the set featured a first-rate collection of jangle-rockers, with tracks like 'Just Fine', 'Down On It' and 'Cold Cold Rain' easily giving Michael Stipe and company a run for the alt rocker sweepstakes.  Lyrically these guys were far less quixotic than R.E.M., happy to focus on more practical aspects of day-to-day relationships (the churning 'I Thought You Knew', 'On the Wire', and the wonderfully titled 'Our Little War'), but that was fine with my everyman respectabilities.  By the way, I'm not trying to imply these guys were R.E.M. clones.  They weren't.  There were certainly similarities in styles and influences, but The Windbreakers were unique and here the end result was an album any '80s alt rock fan should check out !


"At Home with Bobby and Tim" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Just Fine  (Tim Lee) - 3:44   rating: **** stars

You just had to wonder how a quality slice of Southern jangle rock like 'Just Fine' vanished without a trace ...  Energetic melody; killer solos; and twangy vocals that sounded magnificent on a warm summer night.

2.) I Thought You Knew  (Bobby Sutliff) - 3:35   rating: **** stars

Simply a candy box of goodies ... I'd die a happy man if I could figure out the little guitar figure that propels this track.  And Sutliff's solo was simply mesmerizing.  No idea when, or where it was recorded, and the sound and video quality are miserable, but YouTube has a clip of Tim Lee taking a stab at this one.  Bobby Sutliff guests on lead guitar: 

3.) On the Wire  (Bobby Sutliff) - 3:24     rating: **** stars

And you thought R.E.M. was the only Southern alt band that could generate that jangle rock sound ... As you'll hear on 'On the Wire' Lee and Sutliff were every bit as capable as Michael Stipe and compatriots.  Stunning jangle rock ballad.   

4.) Down On It  (Tim Lee) - 3:15     rating: **** stars

Ah, self-reflection at it's best.  Even better when set to a hyper-speed rock arrangement.

5.) Ill At Ease  (Tim Lee) - 2:58     rating: **** stars

Sounding like they'd binged on Dylan albums for a couple of weeks, 'Ill At Ease' was the song for folks who doubted these guys couldn't actually handle a true rock song.


(side 2)

1.) Cold Cold Rain  (Bobby Sutliff) - 3:34     rating: **** stars

The jangle rock ballad 'Cold Cold Rain' was the album's most mainstream and commercial track.  Love the melt-down guitar solo on this one.  You had to wonder why radio that leaped at R.E.M. wanted nothing to do with these guys.  Always loved the false ending.

2.) Our Little War  (Bobby Sutliff) - 2:40     rating: **** stars

The title alone made this a great song.  The perfect meditation on the devastation one confronts in the wake of a lost love ...

3.) Portrait of Blue   (Russ Tolman) - 3:35   rating: *** stars

The album's lone cover, 'Portrait of Blue' was penned by former True West guitarist Russ Tolman.  Nice conventional rocker with some Dylan-esque vocals and  funny lyrics,;if not particularly memorable.

4.) Saw You Again  (Bobby Sutliff) - 2:40     rating: **** stars

Every band borrows from other bands.  Who they borrow from is frequently a reflection on their own talents, so you want to make sure your inspirations aren't someone like Milli Vanilli.  In this case the sweet acoustic ballad 'Saw You Again' has always reminded me a bit of Alex Chilton and Big Star.   In my book of musical inspirations you'd be hard pressed to find a better inspiration.

5.) Give Me a Reason  (Bobby Sutliff) - 2:44   rating: *** stars

'Give Me a Reason' found the band returning to a more conventional pop-rock format.  Catchy and commercial, if Sutliff's vocals were a bit flat when he stretched out.

6.) Closer To Home  (Tim Lee) - 3:12   rating: *** stars

The closer 'Closer To Home' was an interesting for adding a somewhat unexpected country-rock tinge to their usual sound.  Would have given it an extra star accept Lee's vocals were a bit shrill and pinched.  Still like the tune.