Billy F Gibbons (from the album The Big Bad Blues available on Concord Records)
The Blues and Billy F Gibbons have been friends for many years. In the early days of ZZ Top albums, Billy and the Blues were very verbal about their relationship and while more discrete throughout the years, his guitar leads have drawn from the same well obvious musical links have long been found in the boogie-based Rock of the little band from Texas. While never far from the music that brought him to the dance, Billy F Gibbons help extend the genre by playing the Blues within his own brand and style while also curating its traditions. Maintaining balance as a fan and player, Billy admits the Blues hooked him ‘right from the beginning—and it’s never let up. There’s something very primordial within the art form. Nobody gets away from the infectious allure of those straight-ahead licks! I suspect Jimmy Reed did me in early on. The inventiveness of that high and lonesome sound remains solid and stridently strong to this day. We could go on to mention the lineup of usual suspects, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy, all three Kings [B.B., Albert and Freddie]. The lengthy list of champions are forever carved in stone’.
On The Big Bad Blues, the recent release from Billy F Gibbons, the affection is once again full frontal. A mix of classic Blues tunes and originals, The Big Bad Blues songs are linked by chain of thickly woven strut and swagger, the bloodline from past masters blending with cuts from Billy F Gibbons as a modern Bluesman. The playing of Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” once again makes the Blues a dangerous neighborhood while Billy’s own “Hollywood 151” rumbles with a constant guitar distortion crackling over a boogie beat. Striding into The Big Bad Blues with love on his mind Billy F. Gibbons roars into the album with “Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’”, moves “Let the Left Hand Know” with a swampy groove, rattles out the Blues as he rolls into “My Baby She Rocks”, and brings the pace to a simmer stirred by the feral riffs of “Mo’ Slower Blues”. Nodding to New Orleans Blues, Billy F Gibbons falls into “Second Line” as he uses a Caribbean Folk beat for the observations of “Crackin’ Up”, and sinks low for the tell-all tale of love gone wrong in Muddy Waters’ “Standing Around Crying”.
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