When we did our Top 50 albums of all-time a couple years ago, I’m sure this was on my list. Drove around to it today, reinforcing its greatness.
ZZ Top is sort of like AC/DC in that the early stuff (pre-MTV beards, spinning fuzzy guitars and electronic drums) is so superior to the just passable later stuff. The good/mediocre dividing line for AC/DC is Bon Scott.
Tres Hombres as a unit proves a fine example of the abomination of playlist shuffle.
Here’s an underrated classic. Try driving around to this and not drumming the steering wheel. Peter talks about swing a lot and this song has it.
Playlists are not an abomination. Isn’t an album a playlist anyway? Playlists are great if the music is great. If you like to be surprised as I often do, there is Pandora or Spotify. It’s like AM radio only all the songs are least good, mostly it’s one great song after another.
Although I like this, especially the drumming, we mean different things by swing. Master of Sparks is more funky than swinging. Maybe Peter means something else again, but swing to me is a jazz rhythm that translates really well to rocknroll, from a lot of rockabilly to soul. This is what I mean by swing.
I totally get you on the swing thing.
On playlists, no. My experience with Pandora etc. is they all lack artist catalogue, catalogue within artist and knowledge of what an artist’s weak and strong material is. Worst of all, perhaps is their “if you like this, you’ll surely like THIS” algorhythms. The few times I’ve tried this stuff, I’m completely angry and frustrated in about 15 minutes. Maybe i could teach it stuff about me over the course of six months of hard work, but why not just pop in a full, flowing, coherent album of what I want right now? For example, how long would it take – or would it even be possible – to teach these services that I only want to hear old ZZ Top? My strong guess is, the service would respond with “Oh, you chose ‘Master Of Sparks’ – here’s shitty ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ and now, how about a Molly Hatchet song?'”
My advice on Pandora, which has worked for me: 1) pay the $40 a year, or whatever it is, so you don’t have to listen to commercials and can skip or dislike more songs, and 2) pick songs rather than artists for your stations. Over the last 7-8 years I’ve built up a massive collection of songs I like. If I’m in the mood for the familiar, there is a mix of ONLY SONGS I HAVE LIKED, which is awesome. I also discovered all kinds of new stuff – The Pillows, Raveonettes and Halfacre Gunroom are all Pandora discoveries.
I tried Spotify and found it more like what you’re talking about, samey and too predictable. But I didn’t pay for it, maybe it’s better if you do.