Title - 'Perfectamundo' [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Billy Gibbons & The BFG's
For those not in the know, although that should be a small circle of people, William Frederick "Billy" Gibbons is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer and actor, best known as the guitarist of the American rock band ZZ Top.
He began his career in the Moving Sidewalks, who recorded Flash (1968) and even opened four dates for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969 and they released their first album in 1971. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now on hiatus from the trio of bearded rockers, save for drummer Frank Beard, of course, Billy Gibbons has decided to not only record an album chock full of music inspired by his early influence of Cuban Jazz and studying Latin percussion with Tito Puente in New York at an early age, but take it all on tour!
Backing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, on both the new album, Perfectamundo and the aforementioned tour dates, is a backing band of the highest order. Known as the BFG's, they are a handpicked group of musicians selected for this unique outing, and boy, do they all come together to make one incredible, truly incredible sound.
The outrageous Blues & R&B hammond organ playing on the album opener 'Got Love If You Want It' sets this new solo effort up just perfectly. Sure there are en mass of other instruments on display here, but that Hammond organ is was definitely makes this track what it is, for me. The brilliant hipsway of the classic cover song 'Treat Her Right' is a pure delight to behold, if not a short one (at just 2:22), but that track that backs it, the Cuban Jazz combined with Latin percussion of 'You're What's Happenin', Baby' more than makes up for it. I mean, even the mid-section rap works!
The distorted, "under water" vocals of Gibbons continue on the Latin funk of 'Sal Y Pimiento,' which is then backed by the highly imaginative titled 'Pickin' Up Chicks On Dowling Street.' A cut that is yet another stand out is the piano and drum-based 'Hombre Sin Nombre.' Yet another fine example of Gibbons' flair for this kind of music, the BFG's certainly bring it alive with some talented depth of orchestration.
Having had Tito Puente invite him to the Havana Jazz Festival back in 2014 to perform obviously ensured that this new musical experience was now brought to the fore. Sure, there are moments on a lot of the previously-recorded ZZ Top albums where Gibbons' Cuban/Latin influences seeped through, but here on Perfectamundo, well, the album is most definitely all Gibbons. Next up is 'Quiero Mas Dinero,' a fun, vibrant track that fairly bounces off the record playing vinyl, before the Blues of 'Baby, Please Don't Go' is brought forth.
Described as one of the most played, arranged, and rearranged pieces in blues history, Gibbons adds his distinctive guitar playing underneath it, removes, for the most part, the Blues aspects, and replaces them with solid rock stomps. However, Gibbons' blend of Blues, Jazz, Latin and Rock sensibilities are loud and proud on the trio of last songs that bring this inspired new album to a close. 'Piedras Negras' is yet another brilliant track to crank up in the car, top down (if you have such a thing, windows open, if not), then there's the title track itself, 'Perfectamundo.' Starting off like it's actually going to break into Joan Jett's 'I Love Rock 'n Roll,' it's actually a pretty damn cool breeze of a track, for sure. That is then backed, finally, by the Jazz club, late night (very nearly completely) instrumental swing of 'Q-Vo.'
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