CD review: Various artists, ‘ZZ Top: A Tribute From Friends'

CD review: Various artists, ‘ZZ Top: A Tribute From Friends'
Published: October 28, 2011
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Various artists “ZZ Top: A Tribute From Friends”

With only a couple of exceptions, “ZZ Top: A Tribute From Friends” sounds like a bunch of bands and solo artists battling it out to see who can do the best dead-on imitation of ZZ Top.

That may have been fun for the participating players, but where does that leave the listener? If one wants to hear these familiar songs done just the way that little ole band from Texas would do them, one can play ZZ Top albums, right?

The album opens with a rendition of “Sharp Dressed Man” by an outfit called M.O.B., which is actually an alias for Aerosmith's Steven Tyler on vocals and harmonica, Jonny Lang on guitar, John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums. Tyler has Billy Gibbons growl down pretty well, and Lang apes Gibbons' riffs to perfection, deviating from the ZZ pattern only when he takes solo, but even then the overall sound.

Nickelback's run at the propulsive “Legs” is slicker and heavier, but the band still colors inside the lines of ZZ's original arrangement, and even though reedy-voiced Wolfmother vocalist Andrew Stockdale couldn't carry Gibbons' growl in a bag on “Cheap Sunglasses,” guitarist Aidan Nemeth and drummer Will Rockwell-Scott can't seem to resist the riffs and rolls already established by Gibbons and Frank Beard.

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