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Archive for the ‘ZZ Top’ Category

They’re Bad, They’re Nationwide: ZZ Top to Release New Hits Compilation

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The Very Baddest of ZZ TopMore than 40 years after they burst onto the scene with an instantly recognizable brand of Texas-fried blues – and on the eve of a European tour – Rhino is preparing a new compilation for ZZ Top.

The Very Baddest of ZZ Top follows vocalist/guitarist Billy F. Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard through their career in full; from their self-titled debut in 1971 to their bluesy breakthrough Tres Hombres in 1973, all the way to their MTV-era pop-rock renaissance with 1983’s Eliminator and beyond. Tracks from all of the group’s London/Warner Bros. albums (compiled last year in a great box set that featured all of them in their original mixes on CD, several for the first time), as well as cuts from the band’s four albums recorded for RCA Records between 1993 and 2003, make up this set, some 40 tracks in all.

Usage of those original mixes, as well as eight rare single edits, make this a fitting update from the band’s last double-disc compilation, 2004’s Rancho Texicano: The Very Best of ZZ Top. (For casual fans, or hardcore fans who want the edits on CD without paying double-disc prices, a single-disc version is also available, too.)

The party (on the patio or otherwise) begins July 22; hit the jump for a full track list for each version and pre-order links!

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 9, 2014 at 10:16

Posted in Compilations, News, ZZ Top

Review: ZZ Top, “The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990”

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ZZ Top Rhino box“My friends, they all told me
Man there’s somethin’ gonna change your life…”

-ZZ Top, “Brown Sugar”

I hate to play favorites, but from day one, I’ve been a fan of Legacy Recordings’ “complete albums” concept. The slick packaging of an artist’s classic albums in one package, with nicely-crafted mini jackets, replicated label art on disc and the always promising idea of bonus content is often too good to pass up. I’m probably not the typical target buyer – really, when am I ever – but as someone hungry to dive in with a beloved band, these boxes really do the trick.

I’ve often hoped to see other labels follow suit on the concept, and the newest catalogue project from Rhino, ZZ Top’s The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 (Warner Bros. 8122-79664-2), is exactly what I’m getting at. This little set is the one to buy if you’re looking to cannonball into the Texas trio’s brand of Southern-smoked boogie.

ZZ Top are one of those bands that just know how to keep their fan base. The lineup of lead singer/guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard hasn’t changed in four decades – nor has their commitment to raw, good-time 12-bar blues. With Hill and Beard as a whip-cracking rhythm section, Gibbons allows his six-string skills to shine in a way that few other rock guitarists allow. He’s distinctive without laying it on too thick – just flashy enough to stay ahead of the pack. From rockin’ singles like “La Grange,” “Tush” and “Sharp Dressed Man” to lesser-known cuts like the ballads “Sure Got Cold After the Rain Fell” or “I Need You Tonight,” Gibbons – and, by extension, ZZ Top – are a master of their craft.

Keep reading about the “little ol’ band from Texas” after the jump, and find out what else we like about the box, too!

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 18, 2013 at 12:50

Posted in Box Sets, Reissues, Reviews, ZZ Top

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Release Round-Up: Week of June 11

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Rockshow NewPaul McCartney and Wings, Rockshow (Eagle Rock)

Macca’s newly-restored live show may not be in the Wings Over America box, but that means you can buy it for that much less now. (DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.; BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

ZZ Top Rhino boxZZ Top, The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 (Warner Bros./Rhino)

So not only are you getting all of ZZ Top’s London/Warner-era albums in one convenient box, but you’re getting a fair amount of them in their original mixes for the first time ever on CD. Win? Win. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Motown 12AVarious Artists, The Complete Motown Singles Volume 12A: 1972 (Hip-O Select/Motown)

It’s finally here! The penultimate volume of the long-running series features some of Motown’s most out-there stuff yet. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Pryor boxRichard Pryor, No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert (Shout! Factory)

Nine discs (seven CDs, two DVDs) of side-splitting, wildly off-color humor from one of the greatest stand-up acts there ever was. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Burt - Anyone Who Had a HeartBurt Bacharach, Anyone Who Had a Heart: The Art of the Songwriter (U.K.-only box set) (UMe)

From the U.K. comes a new six-disc anthology of Bacharach’s best works as a writer or performer – easily more comprehensive than the double-disc set U.S. audiences got recently. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Icehouse 12 InchesIcehouse, The 12 Inches Volume 1 (Repertoire)

Two discs of dance mixes from the Australian hitmakers. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Rhino Plans ZZ Top Albums Box with Original Mixes Bowing on CD

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ZZ Top Rhino boxThe Southern-smoked legacy of Texas blues-rock band ZZ Top will be celebrated this summer with a new box set from Rhino Records that features all of the band’s classic albums for the London and Warner Bros. labels.

The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 collects 10 great albums by the band in one box. The Texan trio – vocalist/guitarist Billy F. Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer/sole beardless member Frank Beard – first rose to prominence through early blues-based classics (ZZ Top’s First Album (1971), Rio Grande Mud (1972)) before enjoying a bit of crossover rock success (from Tres Hombres (1973) to 1981’s El Loco). In the next decade, ZZ Top established themselves as unlikely commercial juggernauts, thanks to colorful clips on MTV for pop-rock classics from the albums Eliminator (1983), Afterburner (1985) and Recycler (1990).

While there are no bonus tracks, unlike Rhino’s previous expansions of Tres HombresFandango(1975) and Eliminator (released as a deluxe CD/DVD), what fans will find, for the first time ever on compact disc, are the original album mixes of ZZ Top’s First AlbumRio Grande Mud, and Tejas (1976). Fans may recall in 1987, at the height of their popularity as a guitar band with synths and sequencers, that Warner released The ZZ Top Six Pack, remixing five of the band’s early albums (1979’s Degüello and 1981’s sequencer-friendly El Loco were spared) and summarily using these modern-sounding masters in place of the original versions on subsequent CD pressings. (Parts of the original mixes were finally loosed on Rhino’s Chrome Smoke & BBQ (2003) box set and Rancho Texicano (2004) two-disc compilation.)

So if you’ve never enjoyed any of ZZ Top’s classic masters, now is the time to get them in this sharp-dressed package. Like previous Rhino album boxes, it will feature original album art replicated on individual CD wallets, with all original packaging (including gatefold sleeves for several of the discs) faithfully retained. The box is out June 10, not long after the boys hit the road again for a world tour.

After the jump, you can reacquaint yourself with the track lists for these original albums. (Pre-order links have yet to go live.)

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 30, 2013 at 17:15

Posted in Box Sets, News, ZZ Top

Holiday Gift Guide Review: The Moving Sidewalks, “The Complete Collection”

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The Moving Sidewalks - CompleteBefore ZZ Top, there was The Moving Sidewalks. The dust has been blown off a lost chapter of Texas rock history with RockBeat Records’ release of The Complete Collection (ROC-CD-3018) from Billy Gibbons’ early band. This 2-CD set chronicles, in deluxe style, the four-piece psychedelic blues-rock outfit that emerged from the ashes of The Coachmen and eventually morphed into the first iteration of ZZ Top.

Vocalist and guitarist Gibbons, a native of Houston, founded the psychedelic blues-rock band as a young man in the mid-1960s with Don Summers joining him on bass, Dan Mitchell on drums and Tom Moore on keyboards. The Moving Sidewalks developed a strong local following and found themselves opening for the likes of Austin, Texas’ psych pioneers 13th Floor Elevators, and were signed to the Tantara label for an original album, Flash (1968). You’ll find the album in its entirety on Disc One of the new set. Its ten nuggets combine chunky electric guitar runs and wails of feedback with mesmerizing Hammond organ, anchored by thumping bass and pungent drums. Inspired by the Elevators, the Moving Sidewalks rode the success of the non-LP track “99th Floor” to earn opening slots with the likes of the Young Rascals, The Jeff Beck Group, The Electric Prunes, The Doors, and most notably, The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Though the Moving Sidewalks didn’t survive long enough to develop their sound, Flash reveals a group poised for success. It may not have been remarkable enough to propel the Sidewalks beyond the regional level, but it already shows a band drawing on rhythm and blues, pop, rock and the burgeoning psychedelic movement. The album-opening “Flashback,” written by producer Steve Ames, is two songs melded into one. It begins as a standard-issue rocker (“Remember the days when you loved me? Remember the good times and how it used to be?”) rendered aggressively, with enthusiastic vocal echoes (“Just for a second, I’ll check your memory!” “Memory!” or “You’re so far gone, you don’t even know my name!” “Know my name!”) in pop fashion, and prominent, blazing guitar work taking it to the next level. But then the song veers in an entirely different direction, responding to the earlier lyrics (“I remember the days when I loved you/I remember the good times when I had you…”) in a slow, Eastern-inspired mirror image of the earlier verses. The Moving Sidewalks were already practicing their craft as record-makers.

There’s plenty more after the jump!

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Written by Joe Marchese

December 10, 2012 at 11:37

Release Round-Up: Week of October 16

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Steve Winwood, Arc of a Diver: Deluxe Edition (U.S./U.K.) (Island/UMC)

While you see a chance, take one on this new edition of Winwood’s 1980 album, expanded with a handful of bonus tracks and a lengthy audio documentary.

Louis Armstrong & The All-Stars, Satchmo at Symphony Hall 65th Anniversary: The Complete Performances(U.S.) (Hip-O Select/Verve)

A classic 1947 performance first released in 1951 is fully expanded to include both complete performances from that lauded night, with new packaging and lavish liner notes.

Rebbie Jackson, Centipede: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) / Jermaine Jackson, Precious Moments: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.)/ Surface, 2nd Wave: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) / Kashif, Send Me Your Love: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) / Charles Earland, Earland’s Jam: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) (Funkytowngrooves)

The newest FTG slate includes two from two of Michael Jackson’s siblings (the title track to Rebbie’s Centipede was written and produced by MJ) and an album by Kashif, best known as one of Whitney Houston’s best producers.

Dio, The Last in Line (24K Gold Disc) (U.S./U.K.) (Audio Fidelity)

Dio’s sophomore LP, in the high quality that a gold disc affords.

Donald Fagen, Cheap Xmas: Donald Fagen Complete (U.S.) (Reprise)

This digital-only compilation includes all three albums in Fagen’s Nightfly trilogy (as well as the bonus material included on a 2007 box set) as well as his new solo album, Sunken Condos, also out today.

The Moving Sidewalks, The Complete Collection (U.S./U.K.) (RockBeat)

Before the beards and the fluffy guitars, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons played guitar for this Texas psych-blues band. A new disc from RockBeat features their entire commercial output.

Surf’s Up! “Surf Age Nuggets” Box Coming from RockBeat, Plus: Billy Gibbons, Dickie Goodman and a Visit to Southfork!

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RockBeat Records is back!  The label, founded by by Arny Schorr of S’more Entertainment and employing James Austin in the same capacity in which he served at Rhino Records (Vice President of A&R), has already delivered music from an eclectic roster of artists including Jackie DeShannon, Glen Campbell and Todd Rundgren.  The RockBeat team has just announced four new projects that are every bit as stylistically diverse as one might expect from the label: a box set of surf music classics, anthologies of ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons’ early band The Moving Sidewalks and novelty record king Dickie Goodman, and a reissued record dedicated to the music of television’s Dallas!  All four titles are due on September 25.

Perhaps the most exciting title in this quartet is the 4-CD box set Surf-Age Nuggets.  Housed in a large box which will also contain a book annotated by compilation producer Austin, the compilation includes instrumental classics from the period between 1959 and 1966.  Though a complete track listing is not yet available, the box promises to include such trailblazing bands as Dick Dale & the Del-Tones, Bobby Fuller, the Velvetones, the Shan-Tones, the Valiants, the Ramrods, the Surf Teens, and the Royal Coachmen.  Expect to hear plenty of twangy electric guitars and Fender bass, tremolo effects and reverb on this tour of the influential music that emerged from the Southern California scene as the 1960s began.  RockBeat assures that many obscure tracks will appear on this set designed to reflect the period when “music, sport and teenage lifestyle came together and…the attitude that surfing has always been a “rebel sport.”

After the jump: What was Billy Gibbons up to, pre-ZZ Top?  And it’s a Ewing family get-together!  Plus, Dickie Goodman meets Batman, Jaws, E.T. and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 31, 2012 at 10:10

Springsteen, U2, Queen, Joel, McCartney, Taylor Featured On “Rock Hall of Fame” Live Box Set

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Since its formation on April 20, 1983, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has inducted a slate of accomplished musicians into its ranks on a yearly basis, causing excitement, consternation and everything in between.  Though the worthiness of nominees and inductees is hotly debated with each “class” and a number of distinguished artists continue to be ignored year after year, one thing can be agreed upon: a lot of great music has been played for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It continues to host performances at its Cleveland home, which opened its doors in 1995.  Each year, inducted musicians take the stage in Cleveland and at a New York induction ceremony, often with old colleagues or young musicians whom they have influenced.  Hence, Eddie Vedder joined the remaining Doors for “Break On Through,” Bruce Springsteen teamed with Mick Jagger on “Satisfaction,” Dhani Harrison accompanied two Wilburys, Steve Winwood and Prince for his late father George’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and the Allman Brothers partnered with Sheryl Crow for “Midnight Rider.”

In past years, only one major album came from The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s vast archives, a 1996 release collecting performances from the 1995 concert that inaugurated the actual museum.  In 2009 and 2010, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame teamed with Time-Life for a series of DVDs (available as a box set and individually) bringing together highlights from those often-controversial induction ceremonies, as well as CD and DVD releases of 2010’s 25th Anniversary concerts, held at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The Time-Life association will continue this fall with the release of Best of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum Live, a 3-disc box set bringing many of these blazing performances to CD for the very first time.  Longtime Hall supporter Bruce Springsteen appears no fewer than six times on the box, joined by performers like Chuck Berry, Wilson Pickett, Mick Jagger and U2.  It’s a guitar-lover’s dream when a team of axemen including Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Flea and Metallica take on “The Train Kept A-Rollin’,” and when Cream reunites on “Sunshine of Your Love” for the first time in over two decades.  Other highlights include James Taylor’s solo performance of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” the Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over” as interpreted by the supergroup of Billy Joel, Joan Jett, John Fogerty and John Mellencamp, and Green Day paying homage to the Ramones with “Blitzkrieg Bop.”  The Righteous Brothers and The Ronettes celebrate the heyday of Philles Records, and the definitive line-up of rock legends also includes Paul McCartney (“Let It Be”) and The Who (“Won’t Get Fooled Again”).

Hit the jump for more, including the full track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Warner Classics Coming Back to Vinyl for Record Store Day

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Warner Bros. Records issued a press release last week touting their forthcoming vinyl reissues for Record Store Day, and the results are pretty neat for catalogue enthusiasts.

We already told you about the upcoming Flaming Lips vinyl box, and several other classic WB-oriented LPs are coming for the special event, too. Audiophile editions of Eric Clapton’s Unplugged, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American and the first two LPs by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers will be pressed on vinyl. Several of these platters have been remastered by Bernie Grundman Mastering, while Bleed American – which spawned massive hits in “Sweetness” and “The Middle” – will feature a bonus LP of B-sides and rarities.

For the full rundown of all the releases, including some new stuff from R.E.M. and some other collectible singles, click here.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 7, 2011 at 17:34

Release Round-Up: Week of January 11

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Queen, Greatest Hits / Greatest Hits II (Island/UMe)

Queen’s 40th anniversary celebration kicks in the U.K. off with a new remaster of the band’s first two greatest hits compilations on the band’s new label in England, Island Records. (The music of Queen is still licensed by Disney’s Hollywood Records in the U.S.) Remastered and expanded studio albums will follow later in the year, which American fans will also have to import. (Official site)

Tim Buckley, Tim Buckley: Deluxe Edition (Elektra/Rhino Handmade)

This classic, folky debut is presented in an expanded set that features the album in mono and stereo and a bonus disc of unreleased demos. (Rhino Handmade)

N.E.R.D, The Best of N.E.R.D (Virgin/EMI)

The pop/rap producers of The Neptunes had some minor commercial success as their own group, whose early material is being compiled for the first time. (Official site)

Stevie Wonder, Fulfillingness’ First Finale (Audio Fidelity)

A 24K gold CD edition of Wonder’s 1974 album, a No. 1 hit and one of the artist’s defining Motown classics. (Audio Fidelity)

Also out this week on vinyl: reissues of ZZ Top’s Rio Grande Mud (1972) and Deguello (1979) on Rhino, and from Friday Music, new pressings of Poison’s Look What the Cat Dragged In (1986), Ted Nugent’s Cat Scratch Fever (1977) and Deep Purple’s Burn (1974).

Written by Mike Duquette

January 11, 2011 at 12:19