Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

1Jun/0928

ZZ Top – Live From Texas

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They're baaack!

Full of blues, boogie and an ice-blue stage set, ZZ Top is back on the scene with its first full-length live album called Live From Texas.

I know it came out in 2008 and you've probably seen clips of the DVD on VH1 Classic already but I figure what's the hurry? They've been around for 40 years and it's a collection, so I took my time reviewing it.

Before I proceed, here's my disclaimer: I have loved ZZ Top since first hearing "La Grange" on AM radio in Wilmington, Ohio back in 1974. Is it not one of the toughest grooves ever? I even had the single of "Tush" with the cartoon picture sleeve that showed the girl being leered at by some guy who had one thing on his mind.

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Who knows where it is now, but the point is that I go way back with these guys and they have always been tops in my book. Except for those post-Eliminator years in the 80s when they felt a strange need to cash in at the expense of their longtime fans by releasing crappy albums and remastering the back catalog in the form of the Six-Pack...

Time heals all wounds and so I am back open-minded and ready to rock.

It's hard to believe that aside from one side of the incredible Fandango album, the Top has not released a proper live album. I have a few bootlegs that would certainly have been suitable, and we'll get to one of those in my next installment of "It's A Bleedin' Board," but for now, it's on to Texas.

Sixteen songs that span their career and only one dud in the bunch (which happens to be one of Matt's favorite songs. Oh the ignorance of youth...)

Opening with "Got Me Under Pressure," this set comes full-speed right away. Frank Beard, the beardless one, is up front and pounding the drums with authority as he always has. The awesome medley of "Waitin for the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago," is followed by "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide" and Cheap Sunglasses" before we catch our breath.

The first of two gems from the underrated El Loco album is "Pearl Necklace," introduced by Dusty with the proper amount of innuendo and encouragement from the crowd.

Next up is my all-time favorite ZZ tune, "Just Got Paid." This is the Reverend Billy G stepping away from the pulpit and laying it down as no one else can. This dude is still BADASS.

"Rough Boy" is the afore-mentioned dud and so we'll move quickly to another old school standard, "Blue Jean Blues." You classic rockers out there know that this one never grows old.

The 80s reappear with the three cash cows from Eliminator, "Gimme All Your Lovin," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs." They still sound good even though Billy and Dusty sound pretty creaky on vocals.

The closers are the killer trio of "Tube Snake Boogie," the gold standard of Texas boogie, "La Grange," and "Tush."

Yes, time has taken a bit of a toll on these guys. The most noticable difference is in the vocals which are worn but not worn out. However, name me a rock band whose vocalists are over 60 years old that hasn't suffered at least a little bit. I'm grateful that they aren't tuning down a key or two to compensate and embarrassing themselves.

Instrumentally, they are as tight as ever and that's what makes them worthy 40 years out.

If your next party on the patio is need of some old-school blues/rock/boogie, then grab this album. If you're old enough to have forgotten some great parties but remember that ZZ Top was the soundtrack, then you need to get Live From Texas as well.

Purchase ZZ Top Live From Texas - On DVD, Blu-Ray, and CD/MP3

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