Two months ago I became acquainted with an American. Upon learning about my active liking for Country music, he advised me to give Southern rock a definitive look. One of the first bands he mentioned to me was ZZ Top.
I must admit that the one and only song of theirs I was familiar with was La Grange. They are not the kind of band that gets airplay in my country. This compilation is readily available everywhere, though, and I decided to give it a go.
Dynamite. The playing of these guys is pure dynamite. I have never listened to people riffing this maniacally. A prototypical ZZ Top would be “Planet Of Women”. Both lyrically and musically, it showcases their from top to bottom.
Musically, it is all about having a good time. These are the kind of songs that get any party going, and keep it running until the end. “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” indeed!
Lyrically, it is all about having a good time. Don’t look for any subtext in the songs. You will not find that. ZZ Top’s compositions mostly deal with attraction, love and sex in a direct, unfurnished way that is devilish funny.
As you know if you are a MusicKO regular, I personally prefer a more studious approach when it boils down both to music and lyrics. But I am the first to reckon that letting your hair down occasionally is not only advisable but actually necessary.
The album has 18 tracks. Two are never-released-before cuts (including a cover of “Viva Las Vegas”), and a remix of “Legs” wraps up the album. That was one of the classic songs making up the famed hat trick from “Eliminator”, and the other two songs (“Gimme All Your Lovin’” and “Sharp Dressed Man”) are included in their original incarnations. Another radio staple that is found on the disc is “Tush”.
There is a palpable tonal sameness, as the vast majority of songs on offer follow the “rev it up and go” pattern. Slow-paced songs are few and far between – “Rough Boy” is one of the single exponents, and a terrific song at that. Thankfully, some diversity is also provided since (from a point onwards) synthesizers started sprucing up their basic trio sound. In actuality, we are all aware that when it comes to careers amounting to several decades similarity is something which happens as you start placing hits back to back. That is nobody’s fault.
I do make a deliberate effort not to buy albums like this one. For example, I can’t even get close to an AC/DC album without wanting to run the other way. After listening to this CD I am more tolerant as regards other types of music. While I don’t play this disc that often (and I probably never will), I am glad I bought it. I don’t think I am buying any more albums by them. But the times I play this one I always end up with a smile in my face. That has to count for something. And boy, do these guys riff hard.
Would I recommend purchase of this compilation: Yes
Do I feel like digging deeper into his catalog after listening to it: No