Archive for ZZ Top

Our Guide to the Essential Texas Party Albums

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2010 by 30daysout

More than once someone has asked, “If I wanted to throw a party at my house and I wanted that Texas sound, what should I play?”  Well if your house is in Buffalo, New York, then you can play the Goo Goo Dolls and probably half the crowd would say “Yeah, that’s Texas.”  Hopefully the other half would correctly recognize the Goo Goos are a local band from Buffalo.

And unfortunately that’s sort of the situation here in Texas.  This state has many transplants who really couldn’t identify a true Texas artist outside the obvious (Willie Nelson, Dixie Chicks).  So I’m stepping up to your service, a native Texan with a working knowledge of our state’s great artists, with a collection of albums made by our native boys and girls.  And true to Texas, you can ask someone else from around here and they’ll come up with a completely different list – and want to kick the ass of the guy who came up with this one.  So let’s party and forget where you got this list:

1. Texas Tornados Live From Austin TX – Recorded for the venerable TV show “Austin City Limits” in 1990, by the supergroup featuring Doug Sahm, Freddy Fender, Augie Meyers and Flaco Jimenez.  A brilliant gumbo pot of blues, country, Tejano and rock and roll with memory-tugging versions of Fender’s “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” the Sir Douglas Quintet’s “She’s About A Mover” and a rollicking “96 Tears,” this single CD spans the incredible breadth of Texas music.   It’s worth the price of admission just to hear Fender sing “Baby What You Want Me To Do.”  This CD is a party all by itself.

MP3: “Who Were You Thinking Of” (live at Austin City Limits) by the Texas Tornados

2. The “Chirping” Crickets – When four Lubbock boys cut this album way back in 1957, they had no idea how much this music would transform the world.  Songs like “Oh Boy!,” “Not Fade Away” and “That’ll Be The Day” made their writer and singer Buddy Holly a star and the latter would become a hit.  This is the birth of rock and roll as we have come to know it – written and performed by members of a rock band.  In fact, the record caught the ears of four young musicians in Liverpool, and in a few more years the world would change yet again.

MP3: “Oh Boy!” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets

3. Texas Flood – Okay, we can’t get too deep into the list without name checking the late, very great Stevie Ray Vaughan.  He was perhaps no more electrifying than on his 1983 debut.  Texas Flood was instantly a success, and one of the most popular blues albums ever recorded, but Vaughan was more than a mere blues artist.  His technique and ability on the guitar instantly put him toe-to-toe with legends like Hendrix and Clapton – and since his death in 1990 virtually nobody has even come close to Stevie Ray.

MP3: “I’m Cryin'” by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

4. Honeysuckle Rose: Music From The Original Soundtrack Yeah, it’s a soundtrack.  And yeah, it has the dreaded “On The Road Again.”   But it’s prime Willie Nelson, recorded in 1980 live as the movie was being made.  It has the hell-raising energy of Nelson’s best Texas roadhouse shows, as he and his rockin’ band charge through classics like “Whiskey River,” “Bloody Mary Morning” and the whacked-out anthem “Pick Up The Tempo.”  Guest appearances by Texas legends Hank Cochran and Kenneth Threadgill are a bonus, and I swear you won’t even notice the songs featuring better-seen-and-not-heard actresses Amy Irving and Dyan Cannon.

MP3: “Pick Up The Tempo” by Willie Nelson & Family

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Hello from Our Hometown

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2010 by 30daysout

Big fun in our hometown over the weekend: we went to the annual Art Car parade, which I’ve attended with my son for who knows how many years.  Just the other day the New York Times did a story where they spent 36 hours in our hometown, and needless to say they missed a lot of the good stuff.  How can you spend any time in our hometown and not mention the music?

Our little town is an American cradle of blues, country, folk, jazz and hip-hop, all seasoned by our neighbors to the south (Mexico), the east (Louisiana) and the west (Austin).   You can look up some of the cool musicians who have called our little town home, and the many more who recorded their hits here.  Of course the NY Times mentioned an art museum, some swanky restaurants and hotels and – naturally – a gay bar.

Screw the New York Times.  We still run that damn space program from here, and there’s still no better place to get your damn heart fixed.  And did I mention we have a lot of great music here: guess who was here over the weekend?  Elwood Blues.  Ha ha ha ha!

MP3: “Telephone Road” by Rodney Crowell

MP3: “Struggle Here In Houston” by Lowell Fulsom

MP3: “Orphan Of The Storm” by Mudcrutch

MP3: “Fannin Street” (live) by Tom Waits

MP3: “Houston” by Dean Martin

MP3: “Houston Is Hot Tonight” by Iggy Pop

MP3: “Seeds” (live) by Bruce Springsteen

MP3: “Houston” by the Deadstring Brothers

MP3: “Houston, TX” by Deer Tick

MP3: “Houston” by Bun B, Slim Thug, Mike Jones, Paul Wall &  Chamillionaire

MP3: “If You Ever Go To Houston” by Bob Dylan

MP3: “Home To Houston” (live) by Steve Earle

MP3: “Heaven, Hell or Houston” by ZZ Top

The Houston Press‘ take on the New York Times article.  Nice photo!

Greetings From Texas! (It’s Hot As Hell!)

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2009 by 30daysout


The other day some TV reporter called, she was going to do a story on people seriously burning their bare feet on the sidewalk.  Sounds like a stupid story, but you have to admit it’s pretty damned hot here in Texas.  Every day they give some heat index reading, supposedly to tell you what it “feels like” outside, and it’s around 110 or so degrees. 

When it gets this hot, you know what we do in Texas?  We strip off all our clothes, fire up the barbecue, and jump in some water.  And we drink us some beer – Lone Star, of course.  Well, almost.  But we do listen to this kind of music:

MP3: “Farther Along/All Just To Get To You” (live) by Joe Ely

MP3: “Austin Night” by the Bastard Sons Of Johnny Cash

MP3: “Spiritual Babe” by Ian McLagan & the Bump Band

MP3: “In The Middle Of The Night” by Jimmie Vaughan & Double Trouble w/Lou Ann Barton

MP3: “Roadhouse Blues” by Ryan Bingham

MP3: “Real Love” (alternate version) by Lucinda Williams

MP3: “Look At Little Sister” by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

MP3: “I Fought The Law” by the Freddie Steady 5

MP3: “What You Gonna Do For Love” by the Krayolas

MP3: “Guacamole” by the Texas Tornados

MP3: “Castanets” by Alejandro Escovedo w/Ian McLagan & the Bump Band

MP3: “Foxy Lady” (live) by ZZ Top

Backyard Fireball: Barbecue Time! Again

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2009 by 30daysout

Memorial Day is a couple weeks away, but here in Texas we’ve been barbecuing since … January.  I read somewhere that May is National Barbecue Month.  Like I need a reason to play loud music outdoors, drink beer and light fires.  Briskets – smoke ’em if you got ’em.

Actually, I am usually unsuccessful cooking brisketsBBQ sauce on a pit for some reason.  I’m hell on wheels when it comes to chicken, ribs, burgers/hot dogs and Earl Campbell sausage links.  Despite what Hank Hill says, I recommend a charcoal fire, some pecan or hickory wood for smoke and lots of Stubb’s barbecue sauce.

A backyard barbecue is so enjoyable that I do it at least two or three times a week.  Cookin’ meat on indirect heat (way off the coals, lid on the pit like an oven), a cold beer or five, the kids comin’ outside wondering why it takes two hours to burn four burgers.

Ah!  I can smell the smoke already.  Join us for a little barbecue, won’t you?

MP3: “Bar-B-Q” by Wendy Rene

MP3: “She Sells Good Meat” by Jimmie Gordon

MP3: “Barbecue Bess” by Lucille Bogan

MP3: “Barbecue” by Washboard Sam

MP3: “Bar-B-Q” by ZZ Top

MP3: “Barbecue” by ALO

MP3: “Texas Cookin’ ” by Guy Clark

MP3: “Live At The Barbecue” by Main Source

MP3: “The Meat Man” by the Jim Jones Revue

MP3: “Banana In Your Fruit Basket” by Bo Carter (for dessert)

Tuesday Blues Throwdown

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 14, 2009 by 30daysout


Is there a good day to get the blues?  Probably not.  Is there a good day to listen to the blues?  Yes, definitely.  Today looks like the day.

MP3: “I Just Keep Loving Her” by Little Walter

MP3: “Southbound Train” by Muddy Waters

MP3: “Knockin’ At Your Door” by Elmore James

MP3: “You Don’t Treat Me Right” by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown

MP3: “The Sky Is Crying” by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

MP3: “The Leading Brand” by Earl Hooker

MP3: “This Is The End” by Buddy Guy

MP3: “My Head’s In Mississippi” by ZZ Top

MP3: “You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds

MP3: “Stroke My Yoke” by Willie Tomlin

MP3: “Let Your Daddy Ride” by John Lee Hooker

MP3: “San Francisco Breakdown” by Doctor Ross

Dog Days, Beer Days

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2009 by 30daysout


I always hate that dead period in American sports – the weeks between the Super Bowl and the beginning of baseball season.  There’s always basketball, but the local team is the Rockets – well, you see my point.

Oh, there are plenty of things to distract us until the first week of April: down here we have the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, various Mardi Gras celebrations, South by Southwest over in Austin and this year only, the big ol’ Wrestlemania 25 event in Reliant Stadium.  (By the way, the publicist for rockers AC/DC says they are NOT coming to Wrestlemania after all.  Bummer.)

So while all this stuff is goin’ on, we here in Texas have ample opportunity to enjoy our fine native beers.  Lone Star Beer, a perennial, I’ve written about before.  Today I want to offer some thoughts on my favorite, Shiner Bock.  Shiner is a little town located between Houston and Austin, in a region of Texas inhabited by many descendants of German immigrants.  For about 100 years they’ve brewed some mighty fine beer over in Shiner and this year they are celebrating their centennial with a new brew.

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Review: “Live From Texas,” ZZ Top

Posted in Review with tags , , , on December 6, 2008 by 30daysout


Earlier this summer the venerable trio from Texas released a Live From Texas DVD, finally here is the CD companion to that video.  The boys run through 18 songs recorded live at a date in Dallas (2007) and this is an excellent companion for a road trip.   Billy Gibbons’ singing sounds more like that of an aged bluesman, and the rhythm from bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard are tight as ever.  Hardly anyone can quibble with this set list, and the classics “La Grange” and “Tush” get extended workouts, the latter with Hill on lead vocals.  The bonus track is a fine version of Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady.”  This booger rocks!  Of course it would be a fine gift for your rock fan this Christmas.

MP3: “Gimme All Your Lovin’ ” (live)

MP3: “Heard It On The X” (live)

ZZ Top official website

Classic Rockers – Fall 2008 edition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 24, 2008 by 30daysout


Way back in 1978, the Grateful Dead had this hare-brained (drug-fueled) idea that if they played near the Great Pyramids in Egypt during a total eclipse of the moon and wired up one of the ancient burial rooms as an echo chamber then … something cosmic would happen.  It didn’t, and now you can hear the proof for yourself.  Rocking The Cradle: Egypt 1978, a three-disc set (2 CDs, 1 DVD), is a record of a lackluster concert with few highlights – “Fire On The Mountain” has a little more energy than most of the stuff here, possibly because it was a fairly new song at the time.  For Deadheads only; especially the awful home-movie DVD.

MP3: “Fire On The Mountain” (live) by the Grateful Dead

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Ike’s Aftermath: Damn!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 13, 2008 by 30daysout

This (above) is what most of the structures along Galveston’s Seawall Boulevard looked like Saturday morning, after Hurricane Ike roared ashore in the middle of the night with 110 mph winds.  One of the buildings constructed on piers and set over the Gulf of Mexico was the world-famous Balinese Room, a 79-year-old nightclub that once hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, George Burns, Bob Hope and the Marx Brothers.  ZZ Top wrote a song about the club, “Balinese,” in 1975.  Ike turned the Balinese into toothpicks on Saturday, nothing was left standing; above is a souvenir shop that was next to the club; photo at right is the Balinese in its heyday.

From Houston to Port Arthur, millions of people are without running water and electricity, thousands have serious damage to their homes and most are still shell-shocked from the events of Friday and Saturday – but thankfully there seem to be very few serious injuries or fatalities.  This part of the country is strong and stubborn; we’ll be back.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, America.

MP3: “Balinese” by ZZ Top

MP3: “Hurricane Jane” by the Black Kids

MP3: “Devil Wind” by Ribbonpigeon

MP3: “Mighty Storm” by the Duhks

MP3: “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff

ZZ Top: Another Rick Rubin success story?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 15, 2008 by 30daysout

It worked for Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond, but will an association with producer Rick Rubin work for the little ol’ band from Texas? Check out the ZZ Top story at