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Various: ZZ Top: A Tribute From Friends

Album Review

ZZ Top’s magic remains strictly their own.

That li’l ol’ band from Texas have continuously maintained the same line-up for longer than just about anybody else currently treading boards and spanking planks, so the Rev Willy G and his compadres are probably long overdue for this tribute album.

So: who’s wearing the false beards, and have any of them managed to trim said appendages into interesting shapes or even dye them funny colours? The dilemma facing any artist contributing to a trib album: reinvent or simply reproduce? 

Most of the players on display here take the latter (soft) option: faced with a ZZ choon, the likes of Wolfmother, Coheed & Cambria, Mastodon and Duff McKagan (with Loaded) subsume their personal styles in the ZZ quicksand and end up sounding like a bunch of competent but characterless cover bands. The most radical and courageous approach comes from Wyclef Jean, with a bravura soul-ballad take on Rough Boy somewhat let down by a blah backing track. 

Best shots: sizzling stomps through La Grange (from country star Jamey Johnson), Sharp Dressed Man (from The MOB, a one-off supergroup involving the Fleetwood Mac rhythm section, guitarist Jonny Lang and Steven Tyler on harp’n squawk), Tush (a gender-bending spin from Grace Potter) and Gimme All Your Lovin’ (quality sleaze from Filter). ZZ Top’s magic remains strictly their own.

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