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I've liked ZZ Top for years but only recently got into them in a big way, They have appeared many times at Eric Clapton's hugely successful charity gig Crossroads and this is the platform that led to me becoming a big fan and them becoming one of my favorite bands. The band formed in June 1970 in Houston, Texas and consists of guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons, bassist and co-lead vocalist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard. The band have released a total of 15 studio albums with music spanning several genres including Blues, Rock, Southern Rock & Boogie Rock.
This is the biggest selling ZZ Top album having sold 10m copies in the United States alone. It was recorded in 1982 and released the following year.
1.) Gimme All Your Lovin
This is an excellent opener which showcases their brand of vibrant Rock with catchy guitar melodies, sing along lyrics and some great musicianship on show. The song was released as the album's first single in 1983. There's some excellent guitar work towards the end from Billy Gibbons who showcases his considerable guitar ability.
2.) Got Me Under Pressure
This is another catchy Rock track which has some catchy guitar melodies. I like the way the song keeps to it's catchy melodies and moves along. It's a real toe tapper of a track and continues on well from the opening track. It's a fast paced track which has some particularly catchy riffs and hooks. In 2008, it was used in a TV commercial for Pennzoil.
3.) Sharp Dressed Man
Another excellent track which has a very catchy feel and some great guitar licks. This song has been covered many times by some diverse artists, Most interestingly Jessica Simpson performed the song live with ZZ Top. There's some excellent guitar work on this one and I like the way the music builds towards the solo from Gibbons.
4.) I Need You Tonight
This is one of my favourite songs from ZZ Top. It's a lovely Blues ballad which features some outstanding guitar work and a fine build up. The song is about wanting that someone special to be with you that night. I love the way that the track moves along as each verse sounds subtly different musically. This is an excellent song which is topped off by some terrific guitar playing which really showcases the talents of Billy Gibbons. At over six minutes this is the longest song on the album.
5.) I Got The Six
Back to the fast paced Hard Rock now with another toe tapper. The guitar riffs combine well with the gritty vocals and the crashing drums and bass and electric guitar integration makes things sound excellent. This is a short track at less than three minutes but it gets enough good stuff in to really appeal. It's a good little track.
One of the more different tracks on the album, This is a dance rock kind of track which is different thanks to the synth effects which contrast surprisingly well to the Rocky guitars and crashing drums. This track showcases the range of the band and the vocals are amongst the best on the album. There's some excellent guitar work towards the end that makes it feel more ZZ Top.
This was a contentious track as there was a court battle over copyright ZZ Top paid Sound Engineer Linden Hudson $600,000 in a settlement for his song "Thug" after he proved that he owned the copyright to the song. This is another fine example of the way the band used the synthesizer sound which they expanded on from their previous album.
8.) TV Dinners
Another track which uses synthesizers to good effect. The guitar melodies combine well with the drum machine sequences and bass hooks. The track is about being lonely on your own eating tv dinners. There's some distinctive ZZ Top guitar melodies throughout that combine well with the different sound of the synthesizers. Robert Palmer sung TV Dinners with ZZ Top on his album Drive
9.) Dirty Dog
Another catchy uptempo track this features more of the guitar sound though with some excellent riffs and hooks. The distinctive vocals from Billy Gibbons work well and gives the song that Rock identity. This is a toe tapper of a song and is an interesting fusion between the different genres. Not quite up there with the best on the album but a decent track nonetheless.
10.) If I Could Only Flag Her Down
This is a Bluesy moment on the album, It's has an old style Blues feel but with an interesting boogie rock sound thanks to the shuffling drums and catchy guitar riffs. There's not as much in the way of a synthesizer on this one though. The guitar work moves along well alongside the catchy beats and bass hooks. This is a decent track.
11.) Bad Girl
This is the final track on the album and again does a good job using the synthesizers to good effect. The high pitched vocals are Rocky and the guitar riffs combine well with the drums and bass to create a decent sound stage. It's a decent song to end with as it sums up the sound of much of the album. Some excellently catchy riffs here.
This is not one of the best albums from ZZ Top in my opinion although it is their biggest selling album, The use of the synthesizers shows their depth as a band but for me their best work comes when they get right down into the Blues. This is a good album which has some great stuff on it, particularly the excellent "I need you tonight" but it doesn't have quite that style I'd like so four stars are given instead of five. This is still a strong album.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Gimme All Your Lovin
2 Got Me Under Pressure
3 Sharp Dressed Man
4 I Need You Tonight
5 I Got The Six
8 TV Dinners
9 Dirty Dog
10 If I Could Only Flag Her Down
11 Bad Girl