ZZ Top
ZZ Top's First Album


4.5
superb

Review

by Tusk USER (1 Reviews)
April 30th, 2006 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist


First Album, simple name, simple concept. ZZ Top, a band out of Texas, had been playing together for two years before getting the.. beards.. it takes to release an album of new material.

The album starts off innocently enough, (Somebody Else Been) Shaking Your Tree is a fine blues song, with tasty Gibbons guitar licks, and another classic Hill bassline.. with more of those pseudo-sexual ZZ Top lyrics we all love. That theme comes back in famous tracks such as Tush, Pearl Necklace, and La Grange on later albums(to scrape the barest tip of the iceberg); as well as Bedroom Thang late in this, their first album experience. Interestingly, out of all of those, Bedroom Thang is easily as catchy as Tush, as bluesy as La Grange, and as innocently devilish as Pearl Necklace.

Brown Sugar, on the other hand, sounds like a much more mature blues song, beginning much like a classic blues song, before an explosion into the heavy blues rock they helped pioneer. This is one of the better, more solid songs on the album, if not the discography. Goin' Down To Mexico ends up feeling similarly mature, but its got a bit of a pop feel, which takes away from the blues most of ZZ Top based their music on at this point, while hinting at things to come. I would probably classify Neighbor, Neighbor in this category as well.. this is a hard song to really pinpoint, its ZZ Top, and if you're a fan, you'll enjoy yourself.

The guitar in Squank manages to come off sounding like an intoxicated Clapton; however, the effect manages to stay clean, and Dusty Hill plays as good on the bass he ever did.. on that note, beardless wonder Frank Beard plays a thoroughly convincing bass drum on this track.

Old Man is very different from the other songs on the album, it comes off sounding like a slow Skynyrd song, and they do a bang-up job of it. It drags on a bit, but more interesting than Tuesday's Gone, if you follow me.. a very strange touch of indie in here too. A different kind of track for ZZ Top, but no less fantastic.

Certified Blues is just that, but with the hint of ZZ that blues always needed anyways.. and is more of a blues continuation. More modern than.. Jeff Beck or early Cream blues, but less so than damn near anything after it, it hits just right on that scale measuring your daily blues:rock ratio. Cruising through the LP in a blue hot-rod, Just Got Back From Baby's comes around and lets its presence known, its a bit heavier on the blues side, but its easily, easily the superior of most heavy blues period. If you like what Gibbons can do with his voice, and you like blues rock, you'll absolutely love this song. On par with anything by a Vaughan or a King at the same time.

Backdoor Love Affair finishes this album off with promises of the future for ZZ Top, and its indicative of the popular culture matured blues they would release on later albums: raw, heavy, with a dash of sexuality included. This might very well be the perfect blues album from the near-perfect group of heavy blues musicians.

Final Words: All in all, this is a great album for a ZZ Top fan who wants to spread their collection around a bit. If you're into the sub-genre of the blues known as 'heavy blues,' then this album comes highly recommended, and is placed, in this author's opinion, right there next to anything by Cream, the Jeff Beck group, the Allman Brothers Band, and Skynyrd as far as talent, showmanship, and quality is concerned in this genre. If I had one major criticism to make about the album, it would be that the lyrics can feel contrived and are typically weak, in contrast to the love him/hate him vocals of Gibbons, but are very much in the blues tradition.

Overall Score: Tough... between 4 and 4.5, ill give it a 4.5. I want to give it a 4.25, but that would just be me being difficult. 4.5/5 Excellent


user ratings (61)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
SOUNDOFF (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
tom79
April 30th 2006


3376 Comments


Nice Review. ZZ Top is a good band, though I haven't heard that much from them, still fun though.
It is weird and funny how the one guy that doesn't have a long beard, last name is Beard. :p Their guitars look so cool too.This Message Edited On 04.30.06

Digging: Wil Wagner - Laika

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2006


16089 Comments


Nice review, very good for a first, but...try and stay away from one sentence paragraphs, methinks.

robo2448
April 30th 2006


132 Comments


Great first review Tusk.

I might check this out. From your review, I gather that this is more Tres Hombres dirty blues rockish than crappy eighties pop stuff. I've only heard Brown Sugar off of this, but that's one of my favorite ZZ Top songs.

Tusk
May 1st 2006


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the comments guys.

This is definately more Tres Hombre-ish than Eliminator-ized... so to speak, robo (good point, should've included it). I think everyone in the CR thread would enjoy it. I'd even go so far as to say that its a bit dirtier than Tres Hombres, just by its sound, its 2 year earlier release date, and the completely unabashed blues feel that ZZ Top slowly but surely cruised away from.

I noticed several things I could do to improve my review, and ill be sure to take your advice as well, Iluvatar. This Message Edited On 05.01.06

wontgetfooledagain
May 14th 2006


40 Comments


Didn't ZZ Top re-mix this to be more Eliminator-esque? If not, I'm gonna get it.

masada
May 14th 2006


2733 Comments


Billy Gibbons said that this album didn't have any bass on it.

Tusk
May 16th 2006


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wgfa, no.. thank God. I enjoy Eliminator, but that would have been a cruel treatment for such a good album.

Jr., thats a strange thing for Billy to say, because it definately does. Do you have a link to this?

masada
May 16th 2006


2733 Comments


I think it was in an issue of GuitarWorld. I'll find it and get back on it later.

Jimmy
May 22nd 2006


717 Comments


Deguello is ZZ Top's best album by far, but this one is great too.

onefortheman25
May 24th 2006


196 Comments


ZZ Top was better in the 80's. And La Grange gets old, really fast.

wontgetfooledagain
May 25th 2006


40 Comments


You obviously don't know what ZZ Top is all about.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2012


1890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album has some of their better songs in my opinion, specifically 'Old Man' and 'Brown Sugar'.

manosg
September 16th 2013


6250 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album's excellent. Deserves the same love as the more well known ZZ Top albums.

Digging: Acrimony - Tumuli Shroomaroom

mark7477
September 19th 2013


393 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not a bad ZZ top album although they done better ones after this of course songs like brown sugar and going down to Mexico kick serious ass.

DominionMM1
September 19th 2013


10100 Comments


haven't heard this one. suppose i should get around to it soon.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy