ARTIST: ZZ Top
TITLE: Rio Grande Mud
YEAR RELEASED: 1972
CHART ACTION: #104
SINGLES: Francine (#69)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Just Got Paid
LINEUP: Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Better riffs, better variety, better songs. This is ZZ Top all the way, just no one really knew it yet.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is the launching point for the classic 70’s ZZ Top sounds. Compared to the first album, there are more rock-and-roll elements here than in their first album, and a more varied attack of the blues.
“Francine” and “Just Got Paid” roar out from the start with two ripping classics (though “Francine” is really inappropriate) and then record moves toward more of a blues feel, ending with a long, slow blues “Sure Got Cold After the Rain Fell”, the great “Whiskey’n Mama” and “Down Brownie”, a tribute to a girl who takes them out for a good time.
The consistency between tracks is better, and every song has its high points. It’s not perfect, but if you love ZZ Top and don’t want the usual, grab this one.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Steve Perron and Kenny Cordray actually wrote “Francine” (which also is spelled “Francene” at times).
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A-: Air slide guitars to the fore!