Billy F. Gibbons - The Big Bad Blues

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Although known as a southern rock band, ZZ Top, and particularly guitarist and front-man Billy F. Gibbons, have always been regarded as a band with a strong connection to the blues. Outside of ZZ, Gibbons often appears with blues players, and as he himself has said, the band never really left the blues, even at their '80s chart peak - the compilation album One Foot In The Blues highlights that fact. The only confusing thing about this second solo album from Gibbons therefore, is why it's taken him so long to get around to making it. Fans will find a lot more they can associate with on this album compared to Gibbons' first solo effort, Perfectamundo, which focused on Cuban-styled songs. Most of this album is originals, with a few covers thrown into the mix, as is customary on blues albums, and several of them could easily be on a ZZ Top album, so fans really won't have to adapt very much to enjoy this. Billy kicks of his 40 minutes of blues workouts with Missin' Yo' Kissin', which is probably the most ZZ track here; a sensible move which will get any fan immediately into the sound of this album with no effort at all. Things get generally more traditional after that, with the slow blues of My Baby She Rocks, Mo' Slower Blues, Bring It To Jerome, and That's What She Said, some barroom groove on Second Line and Hollywood 151, and a rocking cover of Rollin' And Tumblin'. The one dud is closer Crackin' Up, which doesn't belong here. It's in the slightly-Cuban-tinged style of the previous album, with backing vocals that sound like The Muppets, and is completely out of place following ten tracks of pure blues. That blip aside, every ZZ Top fans needs this.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2018, Albums, Blues, Quickplay Reviews,

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