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jdmunyon
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:26 pm
Posts: 54
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:53 am 
 

This band feels worthy of some discussion. Sure, their 80s change of sound towards arena rocking hits doesn't really fit, and plenty of their 70s stuff is good but not exactly fit for discussion here (I recall albums like "Tejas" and "Deguello" being decent but pretty laid back), but I feel that at least for their third and fourth albums "Tree Hombres" and "Fandango!" that there is sufficient metal attitude and even sound to some extent, enough for, say, an early Sabbath fan to appreciate.

"Tree Hombres" starts off with the classic one-two of "Waitin' for the Bus"/"Jesus Just Left Chicago", and then you've got "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers", which I'm apt to call a proto-speed metal song for 1973, enough for Motorhead to cover some years later. Then you've got "Master of Sparks" with those massive beginning chords which channel Iommi at least in my mind, and the entire song has total "metal" lyrics (being drug behind a speeding car in a steel goddamn cage). The rest of the album is a bit more mellow but still great stuff ("La Grange" isn't bad but is outdone in my opinion by most of these other songs).

"Fandango!" has three live tracks to start and these are filled with energy and some degree of the right "metal attitude". "Thunderbird" is uptempo and awesome ("Get high, everybody get high!"), "Jailhouse Rock" works, and "Backdoor Medley" is this near 10 minute, almost "progressive" tour de force. For the studio tracks, "Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings" and "Heard It on the X" are good on the speed and the riffs, especially the latter, and "Tush" is just classic, even if it's super simple.

I just got their second album "Rio Grande Mud" and I don't see any proto-metal tendencies anywhere on that one, but it's still good, honest, catchy shit. This band has been a good find to fill in some blank space of my early 70s music collection. Other thoughts about that little ol' band from Texas?

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NTT
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:49 am
Posts: 94
Location: 504
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:24 pm 
 

The heavy, crunchy direction they took in the 90s is worth checking out as well. I defy anyone not to groove along to "Alley-Gator" with all the windows down.

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arnvidr
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:51 pm
Posts: 45
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:21 am 
 

Love most stuff of this band. Degüello is my favourite of theirs, but also lots of nice rock tunes in their later albums.

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RichardDeBenthall
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:46 am
Posts: 250
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:18 am 
 

Not the biggest ZZ Top fan but love "Jesus Just Left Chicago". Proper good summer tune.

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Haunted Shirt
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:00 pm
Posts: 162
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:23 am 
 

I like everything by them, but really enjoy their 80s era stuff. I find it very ironic that the one guy in the band who doesn't have a beard, has the last name beard.
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Steve Nebraska
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:06 pm
Posts: 73
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:29 pm 
 

My co worker just said today "if they play la grange on the radio again, I'm going self induced myself to alcohol poisoning".

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jdmunyon
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:26 pm
Posts: 54
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:18 am 
 

"Alley-Gator" wasn't bad. "Deguello" is pretty decent, I like the laid-back vibe and some of those tracks a lot like "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide" and "Hi Fi Mama". "Tejas" I've given a second look these past few days and really getting into it, for a short 34 minute release, basically every song has a completely different vibe. Some of them sound like they could have been on prior albums with a crunchier production, but then you've got smooth, friendly tracks like "It's Only Love" which are just catchy as well. Nice instrumental to end that one too. Certainly not metal it any sense at all, but the sense of experimentation, little drum and guitar tricks and ideas on every track at least fits in with the "anti-mainstream" spirit. I think I need to give "Eliminator" a few runs now.

Fortunately I have never got sick of "La Grange", it's not all too special though and I can see why it would get annoying after awhile. That riff is too well-known everywhere.

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CF_Mono
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:21 pm
Posts: 1786
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:29 pm 
 

The first few albums are all killer. Tres Hombres is an obvious classic.

I love the live opening on Fandango, it seriously contains some of the world's best raw, barking guitar tone and improvised fast paced licks. Plus the tempo changes on backdoor medley are just nuts.

The first album is also pretty underrated, as is the ORIGINAL mix of Tejas. While they may just be another dad-band at the surface, some time spent with them makes you realize that these guys were all about perfecting their craft and being detailed songwriters. Kudos for starting a thread about them.
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volutetheswarth
Veteran

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:37 pm
Posts: 3444
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:41 pm 
 

Their 80's material (Eliminator and Afterburner) strikes me as their best, perhaps the crisp production and catchy choruses, little to no middling - just songs.

They never really ascended beyond an 'okay band' for me. Certainty not something I'm going to object to if it's played but hardly a 'must listen' band.

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MacMoney
Man of the Cloth

Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2002 10:17 pm
Posts: 2314
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:02 am 
 

volutetheswarth wrote:
Their 80's material (Eliminator and Afterburner) strikes me as their best, perhaps the crisp production and catchy choruses, little to no middling - just songs.


Perhaps you just like pop over blues?

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volutetheswarth
Veteran

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:37 pm
Posts: 3444
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:12 am 
 

Probably, but the blues riffs are still prominent in the 80's material, just more upbeat and concise. But yes there is an unmistakable electronic poppy layout and production throughout.

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NuclearCreation91
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:34 pm
Posts: 119
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:07 am 
 

80's ZZ Top is pretty aight. I love the pop infused bluesys. I much prefer the desert, chain smoking/toking 70's output the b'ys had to offer. Classic band though everyone should try em out.

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jdmunyon
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:26 pm
Posts: 54
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:51 pm 
 

I've absolutely been obsessing over "Tejas" and more recently "Deguello" this last week or so. Not as straightforward and "crunchy" as Tres Hombres could be, or especially the studio tracks of "Fandango!", but man this is some good shit. "El Loco" was starting to get rather "cheesy" but was still alright. "Eliminator" will get some spins in full after some time: of course the singles are all good but it remains to be seen if the deep cuts are still as consistently catchy and driving and "80s" as tunes like "Sharp Dressed Man", "Got Me Under Pressure" or "Gimme All Your Lovin'".

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