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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 4 May 2003
They're back! After a four year absence since their last studio release it is obvious when listening to "Mescalero" that the time has been well spent and ZZ Top fans from the last 30 years will be pleased. The great Billy Gibbons (hailed to be one of the greatest blues/rock guitarists ever) demonstrates why this band has lasted longer than any rock band to date. Dusty Hill's bass resonates through every track and he cuts loose in his rockin' version of "Piece". Frank Beard demonstrates what a talented drummer he is by holding it all together. Clearly the best ZZ Top release as far as overall content since "Recycler", and encompassing every avenue that the Tres Hombres have divulged in through the last three decades. The title track “Mescalero” (literally meaning "maker of mescal", the liquor made from cactus native to northern Mexico) contains English and Spanish vocals whereas "Que Lastima" is entirely in Spanish with Gibbons completly at the helm. Gibbons describes it as techno-mariachi inspired by a toast at a Matamoros cantina My favorite track seems to jump from the rockin' "Buck Nekkid" and the heavy blues tune "Goin' So Good". "What Would You Do" is a rockin' country, Blues Brothers sounding tune, that again provides another new sound for the band. "What It Is Kid" rocks, possibly referencing "Kid Rock" - "the boy ain't bad on the other hand Detroit rocks like the Rio Grand". Mescalero, what is it? "It is what it is" as stated by Billy Gibbons. The sound is tight and the chops are clean. The sound makes me believe this is more insturmental than studio effect as in previous ventures. Although several studio effects are present I don't see it having any negative effect on the music which is a very welcomed return for ZZ Top fans. Mescalero although a bit overdue, is a winner from start to end. The Tres Hombres are clearly back with a bang and sum up the entire essence of what ZZ Top was, is and will be with this release. This album intoxicates without the need for tequila. Fans old and new shall be thoroughly pleased with the entire package.
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on 3 June 2003
This is probably ZZ Tops best work. If not, it is very near the top.
Every song is different and still has the flavor of the bands down home roots.
Guitar players will love a majority of the songs just because of the guitar work. "Dusted" is a prime example. For that matter, every song has its own special notes. From driving bass lines to a fantastic drum beat in every song.
Old fans will love it. Some of the tracks, "Two ways to Play" in particular, may attract new listeners and fans. "Alley Gator" and "Me so Stupid" are two prime video candidates.
"Tramp" is a remake but done up in fine ZZ style.
Even "Que lastima" which is sung in Spanish, is a fine piece of work.
Although the rating system here only allows for a five...this one is a ten!
Good work Boyz!
"Burger Man"
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on 6 March 2013
Having been a fan of the Top since I discovered Tres Hombres way back in the seventies, for me they have never failed to deliver and Mescalero is no exception. There seems to be four distinct era's to ZZ Top, early blues/rock (First Album - Tres Hombres), experimentation (Deguellio/El Loco) commercialisation (Eliminator - Recycler) and post commercialisation (Antenna onwards), this carries on from Antenna and Rhythmeen where the boys have been trying to get back to the stripped down feel of their early albums, and which even though they get some poor reviews I find satisfying and probably bulds upon them. It is a long CD by Top standards with 16 tracks (but 17 songs) but it is never dull and there is plenty of variety Que Lastina on which Billy Gibbons sings in Spanish very, very well and if you let the CD play you will find a version of "As Time Goes By" lurking at the end (but not listed). For me the highlight though is Goin' So Good, one of those times like "I Need You Tonight" off Eliminator or "Blue Jean Blues" off Fandango or "Rough Boy" from Afterburner when they come up with one of those gut wrenching slow songs that just seems to have you ending up in tears, it is an an absolute classic, has some brilliant slide guitar work in it and the lyrics are so, so sweet. So why only four stars and not five? Nothing compares to Fandango and Tres Hombres to me, but this is close, I still love it and the Top, so if you are a young pup looking to get into classic rock/blues, get into the Top, you know you want to.
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on 4 July 2006
When Eliminator came out back in the mid eighties, I bought it and then went out and bought their entire back catalogue. I love these guys. I keep expecting them to turn sour but they don't. They have produced the odd mediocre albums since Afterburner, but there is always a great couple of tracks on them which makes them worth having.

This album is full of treats and it has a sound that makes gravel seem like candy floss. It kicks your ears in but it feels great! It put a big smile on my face, and is great for the car. Ripping, thumping blues with the best co-ordination between three musicians you could hope for. They play as one like no one else can. thats what 35 years together does for you. Fabulous.
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on 1 September 2011
just wanted more heavy guitars, bass & drums!
I don't really like the mad foreign vocals on here either? no need for that.
Should've been more like 'XXX' OR 'Rhytmeen' for me to love 100% but it's still good.
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on 18 September 2009
Since hearing ZZ Top "Fandango" I never thought any of their work would ever come close to that but I was wrong. Mescalero has it all. The first track's the hardest heaviest thing I've ever heard from ZZ Top and has the meanest bassline in the land! Some of the riffs like in "Buck Nekkid" are so blues cool it's unbeleivable. There's the sadness in Goin' So Good. The only two tracks I don't rate at 5* were What would you do? and Stackin Paper. But it wasn't enought to bring a great album down...a weird hidden track at the end too
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on 19 March 2011
Superb music as always from the Beards, but now on my second replacement disk, both of which have thousands of read errors per track (so no surprise that others have trouble playing the CD) and also the studio mastering has introduced massive clipping which make the sound very grungy. Sounds like a faulty batch pressing.
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on 16 May 2003
This is the REAL ZZ Top – a rocking, bluesy, boogie, funky, country, cajun, techno-swamp-thing!!! They just keep gettin' better.
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on 22 June 2005
This is the best ZZ Top CD for over a decade. The humour is there, the dirty fuzz sounds are there, the techno beats are not.
I'd give it 5 stars except the CD quality sucks. I at first thought it was "slammed", ie. compressed and the recorded level is set way to high. But no, gross distortion has been introduced by deliberate hard limiting, the amount varying from track to track, presumably depending on how "gritty" they wanted each track to sound. The result is just bad sound. This is THE worst mastered CD I have heard. The Title track is the worst.
Don't get me wrong - I loved that gritty guitar sound. But I hate gritty grossly distorted bass, drums, vocals.
If they wanted a gritty sound, the correct way to do it is before/during mixing. Apply hard limiting to the guitar, not the whole damn thing. Yuk.
While European copies have the added "benefit" of "copy protection" deliberately introduced data errors, USA versions don't. Better, Japanese versions don't and have an extra though weak track and lyrics (except the Spanish lyrics).
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on 5 September 2009
somehow i missed this in 2003,. i`ll say that it is not as good as some of the other music they have done in the past, actually its rather weak,. compared to other albums i would only give three stars, shame really as i love the early deep rythm and blues they did on rio grande mud and tejas ,it just seems mescalero is a little weak for a trio with such a great musical hertitage as zz top have if they do another album i hope they go back to and earlier style as on their first album
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