While my site is primarily devoted to jazz, I do venture off the beaten path on occasion having reviewed blues great Tab Benoit. La Futura being the first release from that little ol' band from Texas in nine years finds ZZ Top coming full circle and back to their roots as a funk infused blues phenomenon that just can't seem to go quietly into that dark night.
Rick Rubin turns this power trio loose to do what they do ever so well, boogie. While the blues genre seems to have been all but left for dead with the passing of Stevie Ray Vaughn and the emergence of some faint copies at best, ZZ Top lays down a contemporary blues rock sound for the ages with arguably their finest release in perhaps twenty years. As a former disc jockey during the MTV days of the 24/7 music videos and hosts like Nina Blackwood, I watched the commercially driven video format literally suck the life out of one of the best American bands of all time. ZZ Top is simply not meant to be sanitized for your protection and enlisting Rick Rubin to help put this project together was a stroke of genius. Rubin is a master at "artistic realignment" for those who have lost their way i.e. Rubin reinvented Johnny Cash when his career had long been left for dead.
Time has been reasonably kind to this trio and while age is but a number it is a harsh mistress in the music business. Talent does win out in the end with ZZ Top proving they can still grip it and rip it with the best of them!
"I Gotsa Get Paid" kicks off the party with guitarist Billy Gibbons in fine form and a back beat from drummer Frank Beard that goes right through your chest. "Chartreuse" could easily be "Tush" first blood part two with the right air play. "Flyin' High" is all most a ZZ Top meets AC/DC hybrid that is addictive. While most men their age are checking the mail box for their AARP newsletter, ZZ Top proves age is mind over matter. They don't mind cause the age doesn't matter! A far more open ended sound should have ZZ Top fans hitting this one hard and should rustle up some new fans as well. This is pure unadulterated fun!
Tracks: I Gotsta Get Paid; Chartreuse; Consumption; Over You; Heartache In Blue; I Don't Wanna Lose, Lose You; Flyin' High; It's Too Easy...; Big Shiny Nine; Have A Little Mercy.
Personnel: Billy Gibbons: guitar; Dusty Hill: bass; Frank Beard: drums.