As we move slightly further away from the 1960s, we begin to usher in a new era of rock music, on many different diversifying fronts. Today we listen to the debut album from the “Little Ol’ Band from Texas”, ZZ Top. It won’t take you long to figure out that ZZ Top is another all-time favorite of mine, I simply love the bluesy, Texas boogie sound that is so unique to the band. Guitarist, primary songwriter and frequent lead vocalist Billy Gibbons is a rock and roll legend, with one of the most unique and special blends of instrumental and vocal talent. His sidekick, Dusty Hill on bass, provides a higher-end range vocal which is great for harmonies and the occasional lead, and with drummer Frank Beard, provides a very distinguishable sound. Today’s album is the aptly named “ZZ Top’s First Album”, which according to Gibbons, was named so because he wanted everyone to know ZZ Top was going to be around a while. I guess he was right.
Other than setting the blueprint for their unique sound, which is instantly recognizable on the first song, “(Somebody Else Been) Shaking Your Tree”, there is nothing that enduring from their first album. That said, it is an enjoyable listen all the way through, based mainly on the boogie rock beat of the band and the soulful, diverse and unusual rock voice of Gibbons. Other songs I enjoyed the most included “Goin’ Down to Mexico”, a frequent theme for the Texas band, and “Just Got Back from Baby’s”. They have their own version of a song named “Brown Sugar”, which isn’t quite as cringe-worthy as the song of a same name from the Rolling Stones. Even as a fairly committed ZZ Top fan, the only song I recognized from this first album is “Backdoor Love Affair”.
There will be much more from ZZ Top along this journey, it was good to get their style of Texas rock into the mix. Some of my favorite nights ever have been spent with ZZ Top, they are definitely a big part of my rock and roll musical journey.