Album #294 – Tres Hombres

Album #294

ZZ Top have become a cliche in rock music with their long beards and synthesizer-laden mid 80’s hits. But, there was a time when they were just a bad-ass blues trio from Texas. Tres Hombres is a perfect example of this. I was fortunate enough to listen to the original mix of this album. Back in 1988 (my birth year), ZZ Top issued their albums on CD for the first time BUT, there was a twist. Almost all of their albums (except Deguello) were re-mixed and the drum tracks were all re-recorded to sound like 80’s sounding drums. While the mixes aren’t bad, I’m a purist. I was happy when the group decided to remaster this album and Fandango with the original mixes. This is the version I listened to. ZZ Top had their first hit from this album called La Grange, a song based on a Texas Whorehouse which was also the inspiration for a musical and film starring Dolly Parton. Billy Gibbons sounds more like John Lee Hooker than himself on this track. That is what makes it so good. The whole album is blues rock Texas style. Because ZZ Top are a trio, their sound is unique. They mix in elements from their native Texas along with other influences. Billy Gibbons actually played opposite Jimi Hendrix back in the 1960’s. Hendrix even praised his playing.  I wish there were more classic ZZ Top albums on the list. Sadly, the only other album of their’s on the list is Eliminator. It did wonders for their career but sadly, it made them the flavor of the month. Luckily, they have returned to the sound of Tres Hombres. Other highlights include: Waitin’ For The Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Hot, Blue and Righteous and Have You Heard? Overall, I give this album 4 out of 5.

Next: Band On The Run by Paul McCartney

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