Tres Hombres – ZZ Top – A Retrospective

It’s memorial day weekend. A request I have gotten in the past is for cookout music, because there is a lot of dogshit music played at cookouts. My number one recommendation has been Tres Hombres by ZZ Top. [Editor’s note: avid readers will note this is the second piece I have done on ZZ Top. Cause they a good band and you can shut the fuck up.]

I think southern rock gets a bad rap cause it has alot of stupid shit circulating around it. Maybe more on that another day. But I think southern rock is capable of doing wonderous deeds. Look at what we have here. 

ZZ Top has always had a sound that my ear is attuned to. Power Trio. Guitar. Bass. Drums. Thats all you need. Riff heavy. They have a really sharp sound.

They know it to. ZZ Top will go synth heavy sometimes. But it always comes back to the riff. Need to have a solid guitar backing to proceed. 

They are a solid band, but going through their discography can be rocky. Not everything clicks all the time, but you have to kind of expect that for a early 70s band that made it to present. They churned out a ton of content. So, what makes Tres Hombres different? Lets start with the songs. 

More than any other record, this set of songs are rock solid. There isn’t a dud in the bunch. The singles are SLAMMING. Driving blues riffs. Nothing heavy in the songs either. Just about drinkin, living rough, trying to survive. In that sort of classic blues vein. 

It feels pure. Like a fully clear diamond. Just that they found a through path through the songs and stuck to it. The singles stand out as they still get radio play today. But this record is more than “the one with La Grange and Jesus Just Left Chicago.” Let me give you an example.

Someone once said, the best part about country and folk music is its ability to tell a story. Blues can do that to. I think Master of Sparks is a highlight on this record. I don’t know how you make a song about a bunch of rednecks who welded a ball cage around a car and drove around in it such a painful song, but it is. The song is atmospheric. You can taste the dirt in your mouth when you hear it. Feel the heat of the engines. 

Balance. They have it. Nothing dominates over everything else. That trio is so good at having no ego and just letting the tracks carry the record. 

Just a song about drinkin beer and fuckin shit up. But god damn it is magical. The riffs are so clean. The call and response vocals. You can picture this blasting out of one of those shitty electronic jukeboxes they have in every dump bar across the US. It almost feels like it was written for a movie. Nope, just three guys in a legendary Memphis studio putting this together. 

4/4 – This is the best drinkin beer, kickin ass record ever made. It needs to be the first album you play when you go grilling this weekend. Do it. 

Side story: When ZZ Top saw From Dusk Till Dawn, they asked Quentin where the Titty Twister was. Cause “We been to every goddamn bar in Mexico, and we know them by heart. Never seen a place like this.” I have to imagine the Titty Twister was what ZZ Top was imagining when they wrote some of the stuff for Tres Hombres. Just saying…

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