ZZ Top

What's it called?: 
La Futura
What does it sound like?: 
ZZ Top's first studio album in nine years (and their debut for Rick Rubin's American Recordings) is not so much a return to form as a continuation of what they've been doing for decades: monstrously heavy blues and boogie, with a guitar sound to die for and a production so thick you could almost carve it. Opener 'I Gotsta Get Paid' sets the tone and from there the monster riffs tumble over each other and jostle for position until 'Have a Little Mercy' closes proceedings just a shade under 40 minutes later. Perhaps the songs are not quite as strong as the halcyon days of 'Eliminator' and 'Tres Hombres' but the playing and the overall sound certainly are. This is old school heavy blues rock with 21st century production values. The running time is concise by modern standards, but 'La Futura' is just about as long as any LP needs to be, which is a good thing. And make no mistake, this album is very good indeed.
What does it all *mean*?: 
Time moves slowly in the world of ZZ Top and Rubin's compressed production aside, this album could have been made at any time in the last 35 years. Billy Gibbons' Les Paul is nicknamed "Pearly Gates" and on some of the solos here it's easy to see why
Goes well with …: 
The rest of the ZZ Top catalogue, a bottle of tequila and a BBQ out on the patio.
Might suit people who like …: 
ZZ Top sound like no one else, but this might also appeal to fans of current blues rock poster boy Joe Bonamassa. There's a little of what John Fogerty is doing these days in there, too.

Comments

down at the eel market a couple of weeks back. It's a good album, one of their better "recent" efforts, and the running time is just fine. Seventy minutes to listen to an album? Since when was that a great idea?

it's a return to the old "20 minutes a side" running time of the vinyl LPs (just enough to fit on one side of a C90 for the car).

It's a great sounding album, too.

I saw it in HMV last Friday and wondered if it was worth a punt.

I bought the EP Texicali earlier in the summer, which is basically just the first four tracks as a taster. And it's fabulous stuff.

It's typical Rick Rubin production, actually, stripping it all back to the basics and getting rid of a lot of the extraneous stuff that spoils bands. The recording is not flashy, but unlike his turn on the knobs on Metallica's Death Magnetic, where some great songs were ruined for me by over-compression and clipping to the point of ruin, this sounds just dandy.

Gotsta Get Paid and Chartreuse are as good as anything they've done for years, and they sound like they're loving it too. I say this as someone who really loved the late 80's period, too (so Eliminator, Afterburner and Recycler are in the CD rack), but who thinks Deguello is the absolute nuts. This is definitely worth a purchase, definitely.

is well worth a punt, I'd say.

from that on the ZZ Top box set, but never heard the whole thing.

Didn't Billy Gibbons receive a Strat from Hendrix when the Moving Sidewalks were together. Or was it the other way around?

But there's an expanded remastered version of that album imminent. I love it - very psychedelic.

The Moving Sidewalks pose for a portrait with Jimi Hendrix whom they had just opened for at the Municipal Auditorium on February 15, 1968 in San Antonio, Texas. Jimi Hendrix gave the Pink Fender Stratocaster he’s holding to Billy Gibbons. Gibbons told Guitar World in 1985, ” He said the color pink was not conductive to burning, so he gave it to me and said, Play on brother…”

although I can see why Billy grew the beard!

You've all got me in the mood now. I just made the fatal mistake of having a looksee if it's available on vinyl. 9th October...