Of ZZ Top’s first five albums, this one – their fifth – has always been the one I’ve found hardest to get into. It’s not a radical departure from the earlier four albums – production-wise it sounds very similar to their brand of down and dirty blues, but the songwriting and tempo is very laid back. If Tres Hombres was a whiskey album, this one sounds like it was made whilst high on peyote. Possibly, startled by their own success, they thought they’d dial it back slightly for this album. By the last track, the flamenco lullaby of Asleep In The Desert, they almost sound like they’ve passed out.
This is also another one of ZZ Top’s albums that is yet to see a faithful digital transfer of the original mix. The CD version, available since the mid-‘80s, is marred by a horrible remix – as though it’s been remixed by Kraftwerk. Although most of the Tejas tracks have turned up on compilations in their original Terry Manning mix, there are still a couple that are yet to receive this treatment. Even worse, the version of the album available on iTunes mixes tracks with the original mix, with other tracks featuring the ‘80s CD remix. Ugh.
I’m playing this album today because on the first day of daylight savings, with the sun streaming in through the ranch-sliders, it feels good to play a bit of Texas whilst sat in my shorts.
Hit: It’s Only Love
Hidden Gem: El Diablo