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Perfectamundo

ZZ Top guitarist goes solo, throws a loose, groovy party

Billy Gibbons

24 Jun 2014, Amsterdam, Netherlands --- epaselect epa04278979 Musician Billy Gibbons of US rock band ZZ Top performs on stage during a concert at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 24 June 2014. EPA/FERDY DAMMAN --- Image by © FERDY DAMMAN/epa/Corbis

Ferdy Daman/EPA/Corbis

On his first-ever solo outing, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons marries his band’s bedrock Texas-blues boogie with more recent obsessions, most prominently Afro-Cuban rhythms. It’s the sound of a Havana moon shining down on Rio Grande mud. The 65-year-old guitarist’s musical anthropology is loving and loose, with nods to hip-hop and funk (the “Legs” callback “You’re What’s Happenin’ Baby”), Stones-y rock & roll (on “Piedras Negras”) and Sixties soul (a tight slide through Roy Head’s 1965 hit “Treat Her Right”). It doesn’t all come together seamlessly. But the same down-home smoothness and rumbling gravitas that fired Eliminator keeps things flowing.

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