ZZ Top: Dusty Hill (bass guitar); Frank Beard, Billy Gibbons.
Personnel: Billy Gibbons (vocals, guitar, fiddle, harmonica, baritone saxophone, keyboards); Frank Beard (vocals, alto saxophone, drums, percussion); Dusty Hill (vocals, tenor saxophone, keyboards).
Audio Remasterer: Bob Ludwig.
Liner Note Authors: James Austin; Tom Vickers.
Recording information: Ardent Studios, Memphis, TN; Memphis Sound Productions, Memphis, TN; Robin Hood Brian Studios, Tyler, TX.
Photographers: Helmut Werd; James Patrick Cooper; Ross Halfin.
In its long history, ZZ Top followed a career trajectory that took the group to unforeseen heights of commercial success. Starting as a feisty blues-based trio, the band never abandoned its original inclinations, but smartly expanded its approach to reflect contemporary styles. However, far from turning its back on its roots in the 1980s, the boys from Texas embedded those blues elements into their biggest hits.
The two-disc TEXICANO offers the perfect amount of space to tell the ZZ Top tale with the succinct drama of the band's best songs (the Top had previously been showcased with a single-disc GREATEST HITS and the four-CD box CHROME, SMOKE & BBQ). Presented chronologically, the set starts with a bang as the trio, by the time of 1970's ZZ TOP'S FIRST ALBUM, was already a perfectly tuned hotrod. The mid-'70s found the hits getting bigger, but what was big for a blues-based band became enormous as the '80s dawned. "Cheap Sunglasses" and then the group's smart embrace of videos and electronics ("Gimme All Your Lovin'," "Sharp Dressed Man," and "Legs") expanded its audience into the millions. Latter-day tracks reveal that that although ZZ Top wandered from the strict blues path at times, it never strayed too far from its trademark Texas boogie sound.
Rolling Stone (p.194) - 4 stars out of 5 - "ZZ Top were one of Texas' finest bands, serving up a combination of energetic Southern boogie, technical guitar mastery, straight-ahead, frills-free blues..."