For Houstonians, before there was Beyonce’, there was ZZ Top. There have not been a whole lot of major bands and artists who call Houston home; afterall, Houston is not known as a cultural mecca. But, during the 1970s and 1980s, it was hard to turn on the radio in Houston and NOT hear a blazing ZZ Top song.
Many readers will remember the smash hit songs from ZZ Top’s 1983 Eliminator album: “Gimme All Your Lovin'”, “Got Me Under Pressure”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, “I Got the Six”, and “Legs”. This album’s impeccable timing coincided with MTV’s entrance onto the American cultural scene. I can’t tell you how many times I saw a ZZ Top video on MTV during the mid-1980s.
But before ZZ Top made it huge with Eliminator, they were a straight up beer & blues-rock band. And, they were awesome. In the early 1980s, I saw them accidentally at Astroworld (Houston’s amusement park during from the 1960s through the early 2000s). I was attending the amusement park for an occasion that I don’t remember, and ZZ Top was playing at the concert area. I most certainly didn’t know all of the songs, and I didn’t stay for the whole show (I was only 12 or 13). But, I do remember that they rocked the hell out of the open air Astroworld arena.
My favorite ZZ Top album is Tres Hombres, released in 1973. My favorite tune on the album is the first track, which is actually two songs smushed together: “Waitin’ For the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago.” This is the ZZ Top blues-rock at its finest. It really has it all. But, actually, my favorite part of this album is its inside cover photograph. It’s an incredible greasy, cheesy spread of Tex-Mex enchiladas. I don’t eat that way too often anymore, but I’ve definitely devoured my share of enchilada plates that resembled that one.
Enjoy some of the finest blues-rock ever created courtesy of “That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” ZZ Top: