Rio Grande Mud (1972)
Francine/Just Got Paid/Mushmouth Shoutin'/Ko Ko Blue/Chevrolet/Apologies To Pearly/Bar-B-Q/Sure Got Cold After The Rain Fell/Whiskey 'n' Mama/Down Brownie
This was the second album from later to be burgeoningly-bearded Texas blues-boogie rockers ZZ Top and set the foundations for bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd to follow. It has a raw, edgy, very 1972 sound that appeals to me. If you like essential bar-room blues rock then this is certainly for you.
Francine is a chugging, riffy bluesy rocker that provided the band with their first hit. "Francine had just turned thirteen..." they sing. Better overlook that bit, lads? Those riffs, though, man. They sound a lot like Slade from the same period.
Just Got Paid is a marvellous, down 'n' dirty serving of fuzzy, shuffling blues rockin'. Check out the bit around three minutes in when they quieten it down before slamming back in. Great stuff, indeed. It is both powerful and surprisingly subtle. There is just something so rumblingly beautiful about this. I love it.
Mushmouth Shoutin' is classic, grinding blues rock that bristles with that magnificent dirty, dusty blues feel throughout. Ko Ko Blue ups the tempo but is just as bluesily powerful. The guitars-drum-bass interplay is awesome, containing a heavy rock purity to it that I love. No messing' here, is there? Get your Bourbon down you, buddy, and rock. You want more? Then grab yourselves an earful of Chevrolet, with its totally infectious riffs.
The instrumental Apologies To Pearly is just as effective without vocals, to be honest. It rocks. Bar-B-Q is a frantic, almost punky rocker and Sure Got Cold After The Rain Fell slows it down to walking pace in Free Bird fashion. Whiskey 'n' Mama is back to grinding mid-pace blues rock and, guess what - Down Brownie ends things up in the same fashion.
This was a fine blues rock album - nothing more, nothing less. No deep analysis necessary.