This se­ries has been get­ting kind of re­fined and in­tel­lec­tu­al in re­cent days, so we’re go­ing to fix that right now. I don’t think I’ve ev­er heard a ZZ Top song I didn’t like, and Bil­ly Gibbons’ gui­tar sound is un­equaled in its grit and its steel-spined groove. You al­so have to love the per­for­mances; the guys clear­ly don’t take them­selves too se­ri­ous­ly (I once de­scribed their moves as “a back-beat pa­vane”). Sharp Dressed Man is pure fun.

ZZ Top

Now, let’s get past one big is­sue. Bill Gib­bons has a re­al­ly dirty mind, and en­joys shar­ing it. I mean, songs like La­grange and Tube-snake Boo­gie aren’t ex­act­ly sub­tle, and you might try to spin a sto­ry about how they’re a metaphor or some­thing, then he comes down to the front of the stage, growls “Know what I’m talkin’ about?” and flash­es a leer half the size of Tex­as. If you have is­sues with over­sim­pli­fied het­eronor­ma­tive ex­pres­sions of sex­u­al urges, this mu­sic is not for you.

And there’s that line Every girl crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man. He’s not in tune with the tenor of our times, but he’s al­so not en­tire­ly wrong. You could rephrase it some­thing like “A sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of wom­en who are in­ter­est­ed in men are more apt to be in­ter­est­ed in a man who is at least mak­ing an ef­fort to be well-groomed.” And you could pret­ty safe­ly gen­er­al­ize, to say some­thing about a small ef­fort at style im­prov­ing the gen­er­al ap­pre­ci­a­tion of you as a per­son. And it’s not as if Billy’s set­ting the bar very high; he starts out “Clean shirt, new shoes…”  —  how hard can that be? But I look around my co-workers (most­ly male) and of­ten de­spair.

This is en­try 108 in the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on Ama­zon, iTunes, Spo­ti­fy. There’s no short­age of live video; I like this one.



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From: Mark Groen (Apr 19 2018, at 10:34)

Thanks for all the rabbit holes I've followed from these posts, just noticed this is number 108!

Nostalgia is a good thing - First Album, Rio Grande, Tres Hombres was in my vinyl collection back then and saw them live in '75-ish at a racetrack in eastern Washington, Top fer sure.

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April 18, 2018
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