Graham Reid | | 1 min read
In a few weeks -- perhaps far too soon for many -- the first 10 ZZ Top albums are being reissued in a box set.
That's a whole lotta Top -- perhaps far too much for many -- but, if we might be serious about them for a moment, the Top emerged with a distinctive and disciplined brand of Texas blues and over time it morphed slowly into radio-friendly pop with little compromise on their part.
You need only look at the titles of some of their earlier songs like Goin' Down to Mexico, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers -- to get a whiff of their biker-bar genetics . . . and then line that up against songs like Tush, Bad Sunglasses, Tube Snake Boogie, Pearl Necklace, Legs and Velcro Fly to hear how reductive it sometimes became.
Velcro Fly even got a 12" remix and Legs -- which got a dance mix -- was all over MTV.
So, if you are up for it, the Top box might be something to undertake as a course of study (with tequila of course). From blues through boogie to Viva Las Vegas in 100 songs.
Those who would prefer a shortcut and just the hits are steered towards this double disc which picks up all of those songs mentioned above (remixes included) and just takes the fast track through the crucial first two decades of their career.
Some of the understated blues which takes up the first half of disc one might be a revelation if all you ever knew was the twirling guitar and hot rod version of Top around the Legs period.
And at just $13 at JB Hi-Fi stores here, that has to be a history lesson and Bargain Buy in one.