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CD Review: Various Artists – ZZ Top A Tribute From Friends

by on Oct.04, 2011, under reviews

VARIOUS ARTISTS

ZZ TOP: A Tribute From Friends

Show Dog/Universal Music

7 out of 10







ZZ Top is one of those bands that you hear on the radio and think, ‘Well it rocks, but it doesn’t sound complicated. It couldn’t be THAT hard to cover them.’ Then you heard this album and you think, ‘Wow, Kudos to ZZ Top for being criminally underrated for what they do!’ Apparently Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard are much better blues drenched rockers than one would think given this latest tribute album to them.

There are some notable exceptions, and one of them you are all going to scream for me to never grace this wonderful website with my opinions again, once I tell you who it is, and how fucking good their rendition of a certain ZZ Top classic is.

The highlight of this album, for me, has got to be Grace Potter & The Nocturnals singing about Tush! The song takes on a whole new meaning when Grace croons ‘I’m just lookin’ for some tush’. Musically the song is a solid rocker, and a fine effort by The Nocturnals, but when Grace squeals, ‘Ooh give it to me!’ I am sold! Lord, take ME downtown for Grace is lookin’ for some Tush… Indeed. And the breakdown they create in the middle of the song…. Should make every man stand tall, and every woman weak kneed as she whispers, moans, and sings about her tush obsessed journey.

Wolfmother turn in a great version of Cheap Sunglasses. Pretty much straightforward rendition of the song, although they take it on a Wolfmother tinged journey at the end for the outro. Fuzzy is an understatement here. But it is well worth its wooliness because it may be the 3rd or 4th best cut on the album.

The odd song out unfortunately seems to have the best possibility of being huge just based on the people involved, M.O.B. (Mick Fleetwood, Steven Tyler, Jonny Lang, John McVie) is one of those super group side projects that on paper looks appetizing as hell, but when the finished product is displayed there lacks a certain heart in the song, and Sharp Dressed Man comes up a bit flat.

Duff McKagan’s Loaded take on Got Me Under Pressure, and it is the best I have ever heard them. It is a sleazy dirty rendition of one of my favorite ZZ Top songs, and while the bearded ones had their bluesy sleaze on this, Loaded go pure Sunset Strip sleaze all over it.

Daughtry hold their own on the 8 minute long Waitn’ For The Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago. A difficult song to pull off well, but Chris and his boys do it justice.

La Grange may be the most ZZ Top song that ZZ Top has ever recorded. There isn’t another band or person out there that can possibly pull off La Grange and make it sound good. Oh Wait! Jamey Johnson just proved me wrong! Holy shit, if ZZ Top ever wants to pull a KISS and retire and just let someone else play their music, then the trio from Texas need look no further than Jamey Johnson. Musically this track is the jam. Jamey and his band go OFF on La Grange. God Bless the Hammond B organ, which is used to perfection on this. And just when you think they’re going pulling it back in, off on another tear they go. If it weren’t for the beautiful Grace Potter singing about ass, this would be my favorite track off the album. For sheer musicianship it is. As good as Daughtry was on Waitin’ For The Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago, Jamey Johnson and his band show them and everyone else how it is to be done. This song alone is worth the price of the CD. Don’t believe me? Go buy it, listen, love it, you’ll thank me later.

Filter takes Gimme All Your Lovin’ and make it 100% their own. Yes it is a ZZ Top song, and yes, if you know the song, you’ll know it is ZZ Top, but once Filter gets a hold of it, it is 100% all Filter from there.

And now, this is where you start throwing stones at me. Nickelback has the unenviable task of taking on the uber classic Legs. And I defy you to find anything wrong with their rendition. The guys stick to the song, and tear through it with great aplomb and finesse, and KILL IT! Say what you will about them, they knock this one right out of the park and this may be the 2nd best track on the album musically.

Oddly The Texas Trio known as ZZ Top were executive producers of this album. Which I think is the first time I have ever seen the original band involved with a tribute album to themselves. That being said, with them at the helm of this project I can’t understand how Wyclef Jean’s version of Rough Boy ever made the final cut. That track alone dropped the rating on this disc to what it is. But one skipper on an eleven song disc is definitely a keeper disc and worth picking up. Grace Potter and Jamey Johnson make it well worth the money for just their two tracks alone.

Go to iTunes to download it or head on over to Amazon and pick up the CD today!

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