Though my knowledge of ZZ Top ends far before the release of 1985’s Afterburner, and ignoring, for the moment, the programmed drum tracks, ‘Burner is classic, straightforward ZZ Top. These three dirty bastards found their groove very early on, and they’ve made a monumentally successful 50-year career out of filthy blues rock, perfect for any generation of beer and / or whiskey guzzlers. Sure, they may be your dad’s band, but give your pop some credit. ZZ Top is no joke, even with the accompaniment of programed, and very 80’s sounding beats. Still one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen!
A much younger version of yours truly stumbled across ZZ Top’s first three albums at a thrift store in Ventura County, California for $0.99 a pop. No need to state the obvious, but I was quick to overlook the rather “experienced” condition of each of these classics (peep bottom left corner). Rio Grande Mud, ZZ Top’s 2nd studio album, was released in April of 1972, and contains only one single, Francine. As far as I’m concerned, Top would strike gold with their follow-up, and 1973’s Tres Hombres, obviously due to the inclusion of the raunchy La Grange, but Mud, in any condition, is certainly deserving of heavy spins (just ask the previous owner, whoever the hell they were).
It’s a Degüello kind of day ’round these here parts. Actually, it’s BEEN a Degüello kind of day for some time coming. It should be on Spotify if you don’t have it (which you should), so be sure to check it out at some point today. Originally slated for today’s post was 1983’s Eliminator… that was until I found some unidentified gunk on the cover. Far be it for me to air my dirty vinyl laundry.
The below list is, we feel, adequate camping music for the inner, nature-minded ruffian in all of us. A few old standbys, a few personal favs, but all helping to create a calming soundtrack for our recent, peacock-screaming nature excursion. I’d be interested to hear what others would consider like-minded, camping-acceptable albums.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy and the Poor Boys
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory
Jim Croce – I Got A Name
ZZ Top – First Album
John Fahey – The Dance of Death & Other Plantation Favorites Volume 3
Booker T. & the MG’s – Green Onions
Michael Bloomfield / Al Kooper / Steve Stills – Super Session
The Beatles – The Kinfaun Demos
The Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies
When camping, I find a good book helps to set the calming, relaxing, slow-paced vibe of living like a pampered homeless person. I just cracked open NOFX’s The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories, and it’s absolutely, without question, batshit crazy… in the best, possible sense of the term. Anyway, no records this round. Just ZZ Top’s first album over the iPod, good company, and random-ass NOFX stories. Life is good.
I’d mistakenly written-off ZZ Top by the time I saw them at Alpine Valley in 2003. It took less than a minute into their first song for me to realize how strikingly wrong I had been about this Texas Blues-Rock band.
I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know about these guys. Yes, they formed in 1969. Yes, they’ve been around for over 40 years, yes they are still touring and yes, the three members have ALWAYS been Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard (listed on the back of this album as Rube Beard). What I will impart on you is the desperate suggestion of not doing what I did. Don’t write-off this band without giving them a proper listen. This is 1973, and this is American Blues-Rock at its finest.
Tres Hombres (translates to “Three Men,” courtesy of The Prudent Groove) is ZZ Top’s first Top Ten record, and the band’s third release overall. Although ZZ Top’s First Album (1971) and Rio Grande Mud (1972) offered a glimpse of the unquestionable talents of these “Three Men,” it wasn’t until Tres Hombres and its soul-crushing hit, La Grange, that the music world saw just how incredible this Texas band was.
La Grange is a nonstop, blood-boiling staple of Blues inspired Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s chock-full of hard-rocking fire with a groove so catchy, you’ll swear you’re hearing it blasting from a dead-silent room. If you ask me, ZZ Top never reached the creative watermark set by La Grange, but looking back at their extensive catalog throughout their 44-year existence, they’ve come pretty damn close a number of times.
Do yourself a favor and pay attention to those rumors spreading around about that brothel outside La Grange, Texas. Word has it they have a lot of nice girls-ah! Oh, and don’t forget a ten-spot for the door.