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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'The Big Bad Blues' [Hot Rod Red Vinyl]
Artist - Billy F. Gibbons

For those not in the know, Billy F. Gibbons is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer, and actor, best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist of the American rock band ZZ Top.

He began his career in the Moving Sidewalks, who recorded Flash (1968) and opened four dates for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969 and released ZZ Top's First Album in 1971.

Gibbons has made appearances with other artists and acted on television shows, most notably Bones. Indeed, he was ranked at number 32 on the 2011 Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Big Bad Blues, as the title suggests, focuses on Gibbons' lifelong love of the blues and rock & roll, showcasing the blues-influenced vocals and guitar licks that have together served as the foundation for his numerous hits over the past five decades.

The album, his second ever solo album, and released this past September 21st, 2018 via Concord Records (and here with me now to review as a stunning "hot rod red" vinyl LP), features 11 tracks, balancing some classic covers like 'Rollin' and Tumblin,' and 'Standing Around Crying,' along with some of Billy's signature new blues originals.

Side A:
1. 'Missin' Yo' Kissin' (3:21)
2. 'My Baby She Rocks' (3:52)
3. 'Second Line' (3:42)
4. 'Standing Around Crying' (4:26)
5. 'Let the Left Hand Know' (3:53)

Side B:
1. 'Bring It to Jerome' (4:34)
2. 'That's What She Said' (3:16)
3. 'Mo' Slower Blues' (4:00)
4. 'Hollywood 151' (3:24)
5. 'Rollin' and Tumblin' (2:59 )
6. 'Crackin' Up' (2:46)

“We successfully made our way through those uncharted waters with the Cubano flavor of [first solo album] Perfectamundo and completed the journey,” Gibbons said in a press release.

“The shift back to the blues is a natural. It’s something which our followers can enjoy with the satisfaction of experiencing the roots tradition and, at the same time, feeling the richness of stretching the art form.”

Kicking things off with the deep and husky-sung 'Missin' Yo' Kissin' (which also includes a writing credit for Billy's wife Gilly), he follows that up seamlessly with the brilliant, old school harmonica / guitar, Texas shuffle blues of 'My Baby She Rocks.' Next up is the ZZ Topesque (but, then again, aren't they all a lil' bit), New Oreleans vibe of 'Second Line,' which is itself backed up by the steamy, slow burn Muddy Waters ballad 'Standing Around Crying.'

Both 'Let The Left Hand Know' and Bo Diddley's 'Bring It To Jerome' are both vibrant, slow rockin' blues cuts and then we get the stand out cut of the album (in my personal opinion), the grizzly, lazy slide guitar work found on 'That's What She Said.'

The trawlin', deep south blues of 'Mo' Slower Blues' allows Gibbons to dig deeper into his growl, before the slightly more upbeat run off of 'Hollywood 151' comes a knockin'. The album then rounds out with both the finger-snappin' pace of Muddy Waters' 'Rollin' and Tumblin' and then the lightest, breeziest track, Bo Diddley's 'Crackin' Up.'

Gibbons is joined by keyboardist Mike Flanigin, bassist Joe Hardy, drummers Greg Morrow and Matt Sorum, guitarist Austin Hanks and harmonica player James Harman on the album.

CD Purchase Link