Tres Hombres

Music Review

6 Aug 2014
ZZ Top
Tres Hombres
Warner Bros
Formats also available: CD
CD

It’s heart warming to see that the vinyl revival is making an impression on labels like Warner Bros, labels with a back catalogue that’s truly worth plundering. Tres Hombres was the album that put ZZ Top on the map in the US and produced one of their finest songs ever in La Grange. It was the first album engineered by fellow Texan Terry Manning (Led Zeppelin, Joe Walsh, Joe Cocker etc) which might explain why it sounds better than its predecessors.
Unlike the albums and videos that made ZZ Top huge in the eighties Tres Hombres is pure guitar, bass and drums with the occasional second guitar line, it’s devoid of drum machines and rich in tone. And few do tone better than axeman and songwriter Billy Gibbons, the sound he gets on here is to die for and none more than on La Grange and Hot, Blue and Righteous. These down tempo pieces are contrasted by several classic blues rock work outs including the opener Waitin’ for the Bus and Jesus Just Left Chicago, alongside the more left field Sheik. There are different styles but very little fat on this particularly juicy sonic steak.
This release has a bass heavy EQ reminiscent of US style mastering that will suit some systems better than others but it doesn’t get in the way of some of the finest blues rock ever committed to vinyl.