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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