Music Reviews
ZZ Top

ZZ Top

Live in Germany – 1980

Eagle Records

Recorded live and (very) raw, this 1980 performance captures ZZ Top at the artistic pinnacle of their career – just prior to their transformation from the hard-rocking, boogie woogie, blues-based “Little Ol’ Band From Texas” into the slickly produced, synth-pop icons of the early MTV era.

(Under) produced by Geoff Kempin, Terry Shand, Carl Stubner and Rick Canny, this fifteen-song collection offers the cream of the band’s vintage-era crop including “Waiting for the Bus,” “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” “Heard it on the X” and “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers,” along with their two early signature radio hits, “La Grange” and “Tush.” But in April 1980, guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard were touring in support of their landmark Deguello record, and Live in Germany also features nearly every track from that million-selling monster, such as “Manic Mechanic,” “Fool for Your Stockings,” “Cheap Sunglasses,” and the Isaac Hayes penned, “I Thank You.”

Although the unmixed-sounding production is a bit jarring at first, the stripped-down audio quality ultimately adds to the record’s raw charm. In short, Live in Germany serves as an appropriate time capsule, showcasing this legendary band at its creative zenith.

ZZ Top: • Eagle Records:

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