Thursday, July 26, 1973

July 26, 1973: ZZ Top released Tres Hombres

First posted April 28, 2008. Last updated September 9, 2018.

Tres Hombres

ZZ Top

Released: July 26, 1973


Sales (in millions):
US: 5.0
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 5.0


Peak:
US: 8
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

Quotable: ZZ Top “never got it better than they did here” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Genre: classic rock/blues rock


Album Tracks:

  1. Waitin’ for the Bus
  2. Jesus Just Left Chicago
  3. Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers
  4. Master of Sparks
  5. Hot, Blue and Righteous
  6. Move Me on Down the Line
  7. Precious and Grace
  8. La Grange (3/30/74, #41 US)
  9. Sheik
  10. Have You Heard?

Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

For their third album, ZZ Top brought in Terry Manning as engineer and were rewarded with their commercial breakthrough when the album landed in the top ten of the Billboard album chart. “It couldn’t have happened to a better record. ZZ Top finally got their low-down, cheerfully sleazy blooze-n-boogie right on this, their third album. As their sound gelled, producer Bill Ham discovered how to record the trio so simply that they sound indestructible, and the group brought the best set of songs they’d ever have to the table.” STE

In his Rolling Stone review of Tres Hombres, Spanish for “three men,” Steve Apple said they were “one of the most inventive of the three-piece rockers” WK with “the dynamic rhythms that only the finest of the three-piece bands can cook up.” WK However, he also said they were “only one of several competent Southern rocking bands” with “an advantage over most white rockers” because they “sound black” WK and he wondered when “audiences will get tired of hearing the same ... ‘Poot yawl hans together' patter.’” WK

All Music Guide’s somewhat agreed with that assessment, saying there’s seemingly “nothing really special about the record, since it’s just a driving blues-rock album from a Texas bar band, but that’s what’s special about it. It has a filthy groove and an infectious feel, thanks to Billy Gibbons’ growling guitars and the steady propulsion of Dusty Hill and Frank Beard’s rhythm section. They get the blend of bluesy shuffles, gut-bucket rocking, and off-beat humor just right.” STE

Pitchfork’s Andy Beta called it “a masterful melding of complementary styles, cramming Southern rock and blues boogie through the band’s own idiosyncratic filter.’” WK In 2013, Andrew Dansby said in the Houston Chronicle that the album was “full of characters and doings so steeped in caricature – yet presented straight-faced – as to invite skepticism. The album is stuffed with color and flavor.” WK

“ZZ Top’s very identity comes from this earthy sound and songs as utterly infectious as Waitin’ for the Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Move Me on Down the Line, and the John Lee Hooker boogie La Grange. In a sense, they kept trying to remake this record from this point on – what is Eliminator if not Tres Hombres with sequencers and synthesizers? – but they never got it better than they did here.” STE


Review Source(s):

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Tuesday, July 17, 1973

50 years ago: Jelly Roll Morton recorded “King Porter Stomp”

King Porter Stomp

Jelly Roll Morton

Writer(s): Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (see lyrics here)


Recorded: July 17, 1923


First Charted: --


Peak: -- US (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.61 video, -- streaming

Awards (Jelly Roll Morton’s version): (Click on award for more details).

Awards (Benny Goodman’s version): (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton was a teenager playing piano in clubs in his hometown of New Orleans when he wrote “King Porter Stomp,” NPR which he says was the result of him combining three or four tunes in 1905. SS In 1907, he started playing piano at venues around the country. A piano player in Florida named Porter King was particularly taken with Morton’s composition so Morton named it after him. SS

Morton deliberately avoided publishing his “three-minute masterpiece if ever there were one” SS so he could keep it to himself, using it to beat competitors in piano duels. The “ferocious right-hand synocpations and relentless left-hand rhythms represented one of the first clear-cut distillations of swing rhythm.” SS The song “incorporates a wide range of musical and cultural elements that were part of that scene, from ragtime and blues to classical and parlor songs, and to African and Caribbean music.” NPR Morton “was pointing the way for at least two decades of musical evolution yet to come.” SS

Morton finally recorded the song at his first second-ever studio session on July 17, 1923. It was issued as a piano solo on Gennett 5289. SS He also cut a duet version with King Oliver in 1924 and recorded another version in April 1926. SS It was adopted by others with Chares Creath’s Jazz-o-Maniacs recording it in 1925 and Fletcher Henderson in 1928. SS In 1935, Benny Goodman’s version became a top-10 hit. Some historians have gone as far as to mark August 21, 1935 – the date Goodman performed the song at his band’s legendary git at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles – as the birth of the Swing Era. WB

Sadly, Morton wasn’t earning anything from it since his publisher wasn’t paying him royalties and the practically all-white ASCAP publishing association wouldn’t grant him membership. SS


Resources and Related Links:

First posted 4/23/2021.