on 7 June 2006
I absolutely agree with the review below, this is the essential ZZ Top album, yet it was always only available on CD with absolutely dreadful '80s mastering. This version sounds fantastic - back to the gorgeous natural warmth of the vinyl version. Buy it now and destroy your other CD copy.
But those live bonus tracks, they are terrible. Very cruddy. Why oh why do remastered CDs always seem to have to include a bunch of terrible live bonus tracks that no-one wants and which, as the reviewer below says, just leave a nasty taste at the end of a classic album. I was going to knock off a star for this but just couldn't bring myself to, Tres Hombres is too good for 4 stars!
Now, please remaster the other early albums which received the same '80s hatchet job..
on 3 November 2000
I've owned the vinyl version of Tres Hombres since it was first released. I never get tired of listining to this one. Later ZZ Top material started sounding tired but this baby just sizzles like the fajitas pictured inside the album cover. La Grange, Waiting for the bus and Jesus just left Chicago are the strongest tracks in my opinion. This is a must have for any blues-rock fans, the wonderful tones that Gibbons achieves against the solid backing of Hill and Beard is heaven sent. Cream, Taste, Groundhogs...however you like your trios you won't find better than the Top!
A great place to start the remastered series of ZZ Top albums. The first time ZZ Tops albums came out on cd someone hammered the life out of them by adding really dodgy effects to the drum sound. Not so this time. The albums sound like they were recorded last week and have surpassed the original vinyl. The rhythm section are in stunning, nay telepathic, form on this outing.
The extra tracks are a mixed blessing. I reckon they ought to have been put onto an album of their own along with the live tracks from Fandango. They were recorded, if memory serves correctly, in the Capital Theatre, Passiac, New Jersey 1980. I have heard a couple of different bootlegs of this show and these do not sound as good on bootleg as they do here.
Overall a must buy album for lovers of good rockin' music.
This 1973 classic was where ZZ Top hit the big time, at least in the USA and especially in their native Texas. Unquestionably their finest album so far, they only really equalled it with Eliminator a decade later. Suffice to say that it contains two of their very greatest tracks in the scorching boogie of La Grange and the awesome blues-rock of Jesus Just Left Chicago, plus several more excellent tunes that beat anything on most of their later albums, including the gospel-fired Have You Heard, quality rockers Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers and Move Me On Down The Line and the opening Waiting For The Bus. Even the filler is pretty good and you unfortunately can't say that about most ZZ Top albums. The whole album is full of some of the best blues-rock guitar-playing you'll ever hear, from the widely underrated Billy Gibbons, and the rhythm section of Dusty Hill and Frank Beard is by turns rocking, funky or just rock solid - shame so many people can't see past the beards.
Now as detailed in some of the other reviews, this remaster has restored (and improved upon) the original sound of the 1973 lp, without the horrible artificial reverb added to the drums on previous cd editions. It sounds great.
Then on top of that, you get previously unissued live versions of three of the songs on the album: Waiting For The Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago and La Grange. The first two of these, if anything, improve on the studio versions, with a lowdown Waiting For The Bus seguing into a superbly grungy take on Jesus Just Left Chicago, while La Grange rocks convincingly despite being a little on the loose side in places. While the recordings are not absolutely state of the art, given the unfortunate dearth of officially available live recordings of ZZ Top and the high quality of the performances here, carping about the (actually pretty decent) recording quality seems pointless - we want more of this stuff, not less, but what we've got here will do very nicely for the moment. But it's a shame they couldn't find any contemporary live recordings - these appear to be from around 1979-80, although you won't find that out from the CD booklet which gives no details at all of their provenance.
on 3 June 2005
This is one of the finest albums I own, I have it on vinyl and CD, and to be honest I prefer the vinyl version, the mix is better. That and there's a much needed pause after "Hot, Blue & Righteous" where you flip the disc over. I think that's one of the under rated masterpieces of ZZ Top.
I think the way this album takes you from the raucus foot stompin of "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" to the really soft bluesy stuff that tugs on the heart strings was a sure sign that this was a band that'd go places, and places they have gone, and those places are good.
This is not just essential to a ZZ Top collection, but this album deserves a place in any rock & roll collection. If you have acess to a turn table it's worth getting the older ZZ Top stuff on vinyl too, if for nothing other than "collecting's" sake.
on 22 January 2010
My dad got me into ZZ Top. We used to listen to their stuff whenever we were driving somewhere, and to this day anything else I put on in the car sounds flat by comparison. The first album I heard by ZZ was Eliminator, which was great, but their early work - particularly the first three albums, culminating in this one - came as a revelation to me. Their music has so much momentum. It's truly balls-out, no holds barred, blues rock, of a kind that nobody else really does. Tres Hombres simply doesn't have a bad track on it. The first side - tracks 1 to 5 on the vinyl version - is pretty much perfection. And if the second side doesn't quite reach the same heights, it does feature the outstanding La Grange. I know it's academic, but if La Grange had been featured somewhere on side one, perhaps in place of Hot, Blue and Righteous, that would be my candidate for the single greatest side of rock music ever recorded. As it stands, Tres Hombres is right up there with the best blues-rock albums ever made.
I'll share a memory, if I may. I was 16 and in venture scouts, and four of us had gone to the New Forest for a week of hiking between different campsites. Someone had remembered to bring a radio-cassette player, but we only had only two tapes with us to last us the whole trip. Fortunately, one of these was my copy of Tres Hombres (the other was Bad News by Bad News, which was lots of fun also). We listened to it all week and by the time we got back at least two of my friends were firmly convinced of ZZ's greatness. We ended up going to see them at the Milton Keynes Bowl the following summer. Happy times indeed.
Of the handful of ZZ Top albums I've heard, this one features Billy Gibbons's familiar dense guitar sound the least. The result is that it has more impact when it does appear. It also makes for an album of greater scope, one in which each song carves out a separate identity. Curiously, 'Waitin' For The Bus' is a relatively unremarkable track to start with, being a routine blues that seems to serve as a warm up. As soon as the band kick into 'Jesus Just Left Chicago', they step up a couple of gears. 'Beer Drinkers...' maintains the momentum, but it's the brilliantly understated, eerie guitar that makes 'Master Of Sparks' special.
Religious references are scattered across the album, but there's always a feeling that the devil is lurking in the shadows. The slow 'Hot, Blue and Righteous' is an oasis in this respect, but 'Move Me On Down The Line' resumes the hard rocking. 'Precious And Grace' is the sole track that relies heavily on Gibbons's trademark guitar, while the US hit, 'La Grange' builds superbly on a stark opening.
The token live bonuses are clearly there to fill the CD out. ZZ Top don't seem to me to be the kind of band who'd have a lot of rare b-sides cluttering their archives. The original album is fine on its own and is a contender for title of best ZZ Top release.
on 6 November 2007
This is really interesting. If your only previous knowledge of this band is their Greatest Hits compilation or the mega selling 1980s electronic drum extravanganza Eliminator, you are in for a shock.
Because what you get here is none of the more commercial radio friendly rock sound you'd come to expect if you have only listened to three singles from the aformentioned Eliminator or the Greatest Hits.
Tres Hombres is as blues as it gets. Stripped down to its very core with just one guitar, bass and drums, starting with the left/right combination of Waiting for the Bus and Jesus Just Left Chicago and ending with Have you Heard?. Only La Grange is a more sped up head down no nonsense boogie. Even though it is one of their most recognisable hits, it actually sounds a bit out of place in the record, almost like a frill thrown in a the last hour.
The remastered production is fantastic and you can really tell the difference relative to the previous editions. The extra live versions, well, they add a bit of value for your money but they are nothing to lose your head over.
Definitely a must have for any blues lover, but maybe a surprise if you are only familiar with their 1980s output.
on 28 January 2003
In my opinion, this is probably their most consistant and musically strong record, despite being released only three years into their 30+ year career. Tres Hombres is half and hour of blues-rock classics, of which , 'Hot, Blue and Righteous ', 'La grange' and 'Beer Drinkers...', are especially good, displaying a perfect balance of consistancy and variety. The guitar work is excellent thoughout, and the album is without any of the electronic influences that appaear in their later (still very good) work. Overall, this is an album anyone who likes ZZ should own as a priority and will appeal to any fans of blue-rock/hard-rock.
on 26 October 2012
Before they went "all commercial", ZZ Top put out some pretty nifty heavy blues. This album showcases that side of the band. The opening number, "Waitin' for the Bus" gets us straight into the mood, followed by the exceptional "Jesus left Chicago" which is infused with the band's trademark heavy rock wisecracking. This is proto-ZZ Top, before the band became entrenched in Eliminator-mode. The most well-known record here, "La Grange", is a perfect riff on old-fashioned blues. John Lee Hoooker would have been proud. On the whole, this is a fine album without any filler songs. Maybe not as humorous as later albums, but more raw and earthy. A worthy addition to anyone's collection.