Rio Grande Mud
Released: April 1972
Chart Peak: #104
Weeks Charted: 10
There are probably thousands of bands across the country like ZZ Top that remain provincial favorites because they rarely play anywhere further than a few hundred miles from home. So far, ZZ Top has confined major tours to its native Texas and neighboring states in the South and Southwest. This in part explains why few listeners outside these regions have heard or heard of ZZ Top, which is a shame, really, because its two records, First Album and Rio Grande Mud are solid works that deserve some attention.
Nine of the record's ten selections were written by various members of the band ad five of those were coauthored with producer Bill Ham. As expected, ZZ Top emphasizes music over lyrics, which function principally as something to accompany instrumental arrangements. In "Just Got Paid," for example, Gibbons slurs through two short verses in an anomalous Johnny Winter-ish voice to quickly reach the bridge where he cuts loose with a torrid slide guitar solo. Bassist Hill sings lead for "Chevrolet" and "Francene," the band's current single, and does a nice job at that. Other especially good tracks include "Ko Ko Blue," "Bar-B-Q" and "Whiskey 'n Mama" -- spunky little rockers all.
With wider airplay and a little promotion, ZZ Top could, indeed, reach the top. Rio Grande Mud is a good album for people who enjoy uncompromising rock & roll at uncompromising volume. If the shoe fits, wear it.
- John Koegel, Rolling Stone, 7/20/72.
Rio Grande Mud possessed a beefier sound than its predecessor, ZZ Top's First Album. The "Brown Sugar"-style "Francene" became their first hit at number 69. Other highlights included "Chevrolet" and "Just Got Paid." * * *
- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
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