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Tres Hombres

ZZ Top (Warner Brothers)

Though I don’t know it for a fact,

having never heard the execrable piece-of-shit remake, reliable word has it that this classic powerhouse album from the early 70’s was at some point remade with synths and drum machines and a whole bunch of other crud. Shame on the record executive moron who dreamt that idea up! Make certain you pick up the tried and true original version, circa 1973: ZZ Top at pretty much their penultimate, even if the record buying public might have disagreed. Before the three amigos (Gibbons, Hill and Beard)

got into their shtick of the sunglasses and the long funky beards (except of course for Beard; a little joke on us?) they were a kick-ass power trio with a love for Delta and Chicago blues; lone star state R&R pride combined with the power and emotion of killer blues riffs coming straight at ya. Tres Hombres builds majestically on the success of their breakout album Rio Grande Mud and is part of their best work (includes Fandango and Tejas) before they found

world-wide success with Eliminator. By then they had jumped the shark, at least for me. But whatever. This is Texas boogie blues at its best,

even if the thing’s not nearly long enough at 33 minutes. What the fuck?!? Way too short! It starts with the punch and drive of ‘Waiting for The Bus’ and segues seamlessly into the brilliant blues-driven ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago’, Texan drawl and all, y’all. It only gets better – Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers’ is exactly as promised, ‘Master of Sparks’ is telling and sly and the first side closes with a sinuously plaintive blues beauty, ‘Hot, Blue and Righteous’. Side two is as good. ‘Move Me On Down the Line’ is

arguably the weakest track on the album, but immediately after is ‘Precious and Grace’ - my personal favourite - a thumping, driving homage to ladies, fun and pleasure. The classic ‘La Grange’ is next with its killer riff and sleazy, low-down intro, then ‘Sheik’, all funky and bass driven, enlivened with great riffs. The album wraps exquisitely with ‘Have You Heard?’ Like the rest of Tres Hombres it’s soulful, rhythmic and full of bluesy virtuosity. A must-have for anyone serious about classic blues-based rock and roll.

HHHHH out of five

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