ZZ Top‘s latest album, Raw, hit stores Friday.
As previously reported, the stripped-down collection of live performances is dedicated to the band’s longtime bassist, Dusty Hill, who died in July 2021 at age 72.
“I think nothing could be a more fitting tribute [than] to release something that was so telling of how ZZ Top actually came about,” singer/guitarist frontman Billy Gibbons tells ABC Audio.
The 11-track album was recorded live at historic Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, Texas, in conjunction with the famed blues-rock trio’s 2019 documentary That Little Ol’ Band from Texas.
The album features ZZ Top’s classic lineup — Gibbons, Hill and drummer Frank Beard — playing versions of various songs from their back catalog, including hits like “Legs” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” and as well two tunes from the band’s 1971 debut album: “Brown Sugar” and “Certified Blues.”
Gibbons says the performance was unplanned, noting the film’s director had invited ZZ Top to Gruene Hall for what the band thought was just a photo shoot.
“Upon arrival, we discovered that some wires had been crossed,” Gibbons notes. “The ZZ Top equipment crew had not been told it was just a photo session. They set up the entire backline. We had guitars, amps, drums, the works.”
Gibbons says the trio proceeded to play a bunch of songs, and while footage of some performances were featured in the movie, Billy maintains he wasn’t aware that audio of the full set had been recorded until an engineer informed him a few months later.
“Upon listening to it, we all took a shine,” Gibbons notes, “and said, ‘Gee whiz, this sounds like the ZZ Top we’ve always known. That’s how we started.'”
Here’s Raw‘s full track list:
“Brown Sugar” “Just Got Paid” “Heard It on the X” “La Grange” “Tush” “Thunderbird” “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” “Gimme All Your Lovin'” “Blue Jean Blues” “Certified Blues” “Tube Snake Boogie”
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