YEAR RELEASED: 1979
CHART ACTION: #24
SINGLES: I Thank You (#34), Cheap Sunglasses (#89)(!)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I’m Bad I’m Nationwide, Manic Mechanic, Dust My Broom
LINEUP: Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A long rest and an absorption of new musical influences revitalized the band.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After a short break turned into a long break, where the three members went their separate ways to separate countries, ZZ Top got back together and started their revitalization with new approaches and ideas.
They dug into the blues, soul, a little funk, and even some new wave. The band learned how to play saxes, added keyboards and electronic effects. The end result was a glorious mix of styles, and all with an attitude and style epitomized by “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide”, and “Cheap Sunglasses”
This is ZZ Top at its freshest and most exciting. Every track seems well thought out and not just filler. For some reason it didn’t sell right away, but FM radio started to pick this up and it went platinum.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: One – this isn’t streaming, but you can put it all together except for the last track (“Esther Be the One” – which is a fine song). Two – they asked the Phil Donahue show for the technology that they used to mask and distort voices, and they used it on “Manic Mechanic”.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A-: A rest refreshed the band and they came through with one of their best