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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Rancho Texicano: The Very Best of ZZ Top
Format: MP3 Download|Change

on 10 June 2017
Excellent cd got all the favorites on it, good value for money...
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on 2 January 2009
Before I start, I should point out that I don't own this CD. What I do have are all seven pre-Eliminator albums (albeit in the modern mix - I've never heard the originals), Eliminator and four or five post Eliminators. What that does do, though, is put me in a decent position to comment on ZZ Top compilations.

Close your eyes and imagine.... Your father has asked you for a ZZ Top compilation for his birthday. Being old and not exactly with-it, all he's ever heard of ZZ Top is in the Eliminator era, accompanied by some great videos with sexy women, fancy cars and long beards. So he'swanting the modern stuff on his compilation. But, let's face it, we all know that ZZ Top's best stuff is pre-Eliminator in the Texas blues era. So we want to get him some of that stuff too.

And this twin CD seems to be the one that keeps everybody happy. It has a mix of old and new, so you can give him the tracks he's after while also giving him the tracks that you want him to hear. Because, deep down, we all want to educate the rst of the world into liking the same music as us, don't we?

Finally, if your father finds that he likes the old as well as the new, you could always get him One Foot in the Blues next year. There's only a small overlap between that playlist and the list on this CD package.
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on 2 February 2012
Rancho Texicano is mostly excellent blues-orientated rock. It includes such Z Z Top classics as La Grange, Tush and Cheap Sunglasses, but also lesser-known gems: Just Got Paid with its remarkable riff and slide guitar middle section is a genuine masterpiece, as is It's Only Love which bounces along in a rather unrepresentative, almost country rock style. My personal highlight is Waiting For The Bus, which could so easily have been standard blues fare: its accentuated drum beat, heavy (ish) harmonica and scorching guitar solo propel it to classic status! I must also mention its follow-on, Jesus Just Left Chicago, of course.

Frank Beard's drumming is excellent throughout, but the guitar-playing is particularly tasteful. I am a guitarist and would kill to be able to play most of Billy Gibbon's solos on this CD. You get blues licks, slide and wah wah, all played with exceptional feeling. The majority of these songs also feature Gibbons' mellow lead vocal: Dusty Hill's more typical, higher pitched rock voice provides an occasional and welcome counterbalance.

The Eliminator songs are very good, however the music stopped evolving from here on, hence the CD only gets 4 stars. The standout track from this era is Rough Boy, a great ballad but far removed from their 70s material. I myself would have included El Diablo from Tejas at the expense of Doubleback: indeed, after listening to 3 or 4 Gimme All Your Loving 'clones', even Viva Las Vegas comes as a relief. This is a great compilation nonetheless!
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on 20 May 2010
ZZ Top are a band of two halves. Pre-Eliminator and Post-Eliminator.

If you want a short and snappy guide to the poppy (Post) period then get the Greatest Hits. If you want a career wide appreciation of the band get this.

A two disc set, your get the boogie period (Pre) on disc 1 and the poppy period on disc 2. Overall, it is a good compilation, let down by the last three tracks on disc 2 which add nothing to the experience. Quite a few other tracks could have been added instead. Party On The Patio anyone?

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on 9 April 2013
The older bluesy stuff is great. Nice tone. Great feel. It's when you get to the most recent attempts and contributions that it all kind of falls
apart. The use of a drum machine is obvious and sounds wooden, predictable and generally lacks the punchy dirty blues groove we
Come to expect from a great band like zz top. Fake electronic noises as well just seem to pull it down instead of improving the
Quality of the music. Don't get me wrong, this stuff works for some bands. I however, feel a blues rock band should stick to.their
Instruments and try to retain their originality and individual talent and identity. This style of music has been around for a long time
And if it ain't broke don't fix it. I should have just bought a couple of earlier albums rather than getting a cross-section of everything
They've done. Some of the tracks are really, really not good. To an old rocker like me anyway. Of course it's all a question of taste
In the end. Plus the good tracks are damn good. That helps!
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on 7 August 2004
Make no mistake, this is a fantastic collection of the band's years on the Warner Bros label and very good value for money. It would be a certain five star rating for me had it not been for some rather bizarre selections on the second disc. It's the last three tracks that are the root of the problem, all being alternative versions of tracks already included in the collection. The first is a good live version of "Cheap Sunglasses" but it doesn't differ enough from the studio version (on disc one) to warrant inclusion when there are so many gems that have been missed. And then there are two "remixes" - a "dance mix" of "Legs" and a "12' Mix" of "Velcro Fly". While perhaps the inclusion of one such track (just to acknowledge ZZ's attempt to crossover to dancefloor credibility) could POSSIBLY be acceptable, to do it twice is verging on the criminal! Basically rock music and extended remixes were rarely comfortable bed-fellows, if indeed the idea of the extending and distrorting a song beyond it's natural length was ever a good idea for anybody! These duplications waste precious time that could have been given over to "Need You Tonight", "T.V. Dinners" or the always overlooked "I've Got The Message" to name just a few glaring omissions. All songs that represent ZZ far better than this re-cycled dancefloor tosh. What would have been absoultely ideal would have been to include some of the band's post-Warner material, but I guess that might be a compilation for another day. However, what does make this collection so special is it's selection of the pre-"Eliminator" material. While you can always argue about the selections of compilations, for me personally the earlier years of the band are covered extremely well. You have to wait to track 24 (out of 38) before you reach "Eliminator", which gives you some idea of the balance. In fact I would say that the post "Eliminator" era is posibly better served by 2002s "Greatest Hits" album, but those looking for a more substantial review of the Warner catalogue will be in Texan heaven with this set. All in all fantasic stuff and so very close to being a truly definitive statement
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on 18 November 2006
Great collection of songs covering most of their career, but nothing from the last four albums (because they changed record companies). This is far better than the previous, single-cd, 'Greatest Hits' collection, partly because it has the songs in the order they were released, rather than trying to mix Eliminator-era material with their earlier stuff. One big gripe though - why oh why do we have TWO dance versions of 'Legs', possibly their most famous song, but not the original version! But, overall, great!
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on 20 September 2013
Great stuff! I went to see a ZZ Top tribute band a few months ago. Actually I was co-erced into going by a friend and was reluctant, but seeing them brought back memories of when I first bought Fandango many years ago. I thought that maybe it was time to forgive the real ZZ Top for their more commercial material and to look for an album that encompassed the whole story. I searched, read reviews and asked people I knew and eventaully found what I wanted. This is the album.
Really excellent. Buy it now!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 6 April 2012
I`ve got a bit of a thang for Southern rock, whether it`s straight down the line
Lynyrd Skynyrd, the more country-tinged Marshall Tucker Band, or this pared to the bone trio.
Other reviewers have rightly pointed out that the Top were more compellingly basic and gritty on their first few releases, until their commercial breakthrough Eliminator, but that era gave us three imperishable hits in Sharp Dressed Man, Legs and the classic Gimme All Your Lovin`, a strong contender in the Greatest Singles Ever stakes.
I must admit though that it`s CD1 that is the more nutritious, with tracks taken from their first six records - they`d already been around quite a while - from 1970`s "First Album" to 1979`s Deguello. They had such a bluesy, rootsy sound and feel, with Billy Gibbons showing what a very tasty guitarist he is, a match for anyone. Some of his riffing, and many of his solos, are masterclasses in discreet brevity and the ability to say a lot without saying too much.
Highlights on CD1 for me include La Grange, Jesus Just Left Chicago, the immortal Tush, the slow Blue Jean Blues, It`s Only Love, their Sam & Dave cover I Thank You,
and the cheap & cheerful Cheap Sunglasses.
Apart from the big hits already mentioned, CD2 is a more mixed bag. Tube Snake Boogie and Pearl Necklace (wonder what they could possibly be about!) from their last pre-Eliminator album El Loco get things going in fine style, then come the three biggies in a row. A standout is the wonderful Rough Boy, a brooding ballad with some of their old swagger, albeit with a slinky production, all disco-y drums and echo, but with some of Gibbons`s most evocative guitar. A great track, not quite ruined by longtime Top producer Bill Ham. My Head`s In Mississippi is another great track, a deep, threatening blues gumbo of ornery vocals and insinuatingly sinewy guitar.
Late surprise hit Viva Las Vegas is of course here (a southern band whose covers are via Sam & Dave and Elvis - go figure!) in its irresistible if unlikely pomp, with a witty vocal nod to Presley en route. Two unnecessary remixes end this second disc in an anti-climactic lack of sensitivity on the compilers` part.
All in all, I`m left thinking what a tremendous 80-minute CD I would have compiled, had they asked me - funny, they never do - but it`s good to have over an hour and a half of ZZ in one place, and who can begrudge such an unassuming band their wish to be better known.
Mostly essential stuff, with at least half a dozen no-question classics.
Long live and all hail the resonantly named Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard - the one without a beard. You couldn`t make `em up!
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on 21 July 2009
This is almost but not quite an expanded, double CD re-issue of the 'Greatest Hits' collection from 1992 with 3 tracks missing: 'Gun Love', 'Planet Of Women' & 'Give It Up'. Of the 3, 'Give It Up' is the one most conspicuous by its absence. Now, although I do not subscribe to other reviewers' apparent disdain of the 'dancefloor' remixes (I love the reworked 'Legs' for example), I would have preferred the inclusion of the 3 dropped tracks at the expense of the 3 added 'extras', which certainly do tend to end the collection on a questionable note & deprive it of what ought to have been a 5-star rating. What makes this release rather desirable, however, are the remastered versions of the likes of 'I Thank You' & 'My Head's In Mississippi'. It's also good to see 'Blue Jean Blues' take its rightful place among the 'very' best of the Top. Newcomers should be nevertheless advised that this album is best approached as a useful introduction to what came later, for the very best was yet to come.
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