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Shane’s Rock Challenge: ZZ TOP – 1973 – Tres Hombres

| 6 July 2014 | Reply

Shane’s Rock Challenge: ZZ TOP – 1973 – Tres Hombres
By Shane Pinnegar
10/10

ZZ Top - Tres Hombres cover

There are many, many reasons to love this band, number one being Billy F Gibbons’ wonderful, evocative guitar playing. Few can channel the feeling and tone that the Reverend Willy G can – the man elevates anything he plays on to a higher plain.

Tres Hombres – ‘three men’ in Spanish – is also the band’s third album, and crystallises the ZZ Top sound that would last them through to the start of the next decade.

The track listing here speaks for itself – the searing blues of Waitin’ For The Bus and Jesus Just left Chicago; the rabble-rousing blues rock of Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers; Master Of Sparks and Hot, Blue And Righteous’ stunning songwriting and playing making a little ‘praise the lord’ seem almost cool; the boogie of Move Me On Down The Line; Precious And Grace’s blues/boogie combo that reeks of cool (so much so that I named two puppies Precious and Grace in honour of the song some years ago); the mighty La Grange; a dose of quirky psyched-out blues with Shiek; and the slower, spiritual Have You Heard?, almost a Baptist sermon set to the blues.

Through it all the rhythm section of Dusty Hill and Frank Beard are unstoppable and know exactly what to play and what not to play, and over it all, there’s Gibbons’ red hot (and righteous) guitar playing. What a man – what tone! It’s no surprise that this is the album that made the ‘little ole band from Texas’ stars, and they wouldn’t look back from this point on.

Interestingly, the album was remixed for CD release amid outcry that the remix altered the original sound too radically, especially on the drums. Apparantly the 2006 reissue series returned to the original vinyl mix, but since my copy is an earlier CD issue, and my vinyl copy has warped beyond playability, I can’t report how different the sound really is.

Shane

Category: News

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