490: ZZ Top — Tres Hombres (London Records, 1973)

Overall rating: 3

Level of prior familiarity: 3 (was never an album listener of ZZ Top, mostly the singles)

How I Listened: Via Spotify, mostly on my Echo while doing laundry and packing for my trip to SXSW

That sound. It’s unmistakable. So full of grit.

Lots of bands have a recognizable sound. Lots of bands have a sound unlike anything that came before them. But few bands can boast a sound that so many after them have duplicated.

ZZ Top pretty much defined the sound of 1970s blues rock. And damn near everyone who ever picked up a guitar after them would owe a huge debt of gratitude to their sound. (Can you safely call them the first real power trio? Probably not, but I’m gonna put that out there.)

Everyone has heard “La Grange,” but songs like “Jesus Just Left Chicago” or “Have You Heard?” or “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” make this album a fantastic listen from front to back.