Vinyl Friday #12: ZZ Top “Fandango”


A good chunk of albums I own belong to my parents. I’ve said this before that it was the two of them that helped me dig out the old turntable. Their legacy in the record collection is a bit uneven, but almost always worth keeping. Since this Sunday is Father’s Day, I decided to go with a pick an album of my dad’s and why not choose one from his favourite band? Yes indeed, ZZ Top’s 1975 album Fangango!

ZZ Top is a band that has pretty much staked its claim as the band always making an appearances at every family gathering at our household. That Southern blues bland is pretty much one long sound of my childhood. Dusty, Frank and Billy were probably some of the first musicians whose names I learned. I thought “Legs” and “La Grange” were as great as the songs on the first CD I ever owned – Aqua’s Aquarium.

It goes without saying my dad loves ZZ Top a lot and we never go very far without them.

Parents being youngin’s in the 70s.

This was my first taste of blues music at that age. That’s the joy of growing up with everyone’s music around you at such a young age. Somedays it was my mother’s jazz radio station, other days it was my sister’s boy bands she worshiped, and there were even days I listened to Tejano music when my oldest sister became fully immersed in Selena-fever. But it was always my dad’s music that prevailed over all (mostly because Dad is in charge of everything).

My parents are pretty shy when talking about their early years, but I do know a few things:my dad owned an orange Dodge Charger, my mom would skip school and they were both total hotties. It was the 70’s in Wisconsin. I can completely picture my father driving in that sports car to meet his friends – drinking beer and listening to ZZ Top.

Fandango! is a half-live, half-studio album fresh off the back of the band’s first to-be-iconic album Tres Hombres. The split sound makes for a bit of an unusual record. A majority of the live tracks like “Jailhouse Rock” and “Mellow Down Easy” are covers. They are an incredible live band (I saw them live in 2011 and they were still great) and the first sounds as boozey as you’d like. Side B would have been a great start to a studio album to live up to Tres Hombres. The decision to make each a half instead of two wholes is a bit puzzling, but still enjoyable.

Yes this could have been a lot better, but it’s still one of the best releases the band has to date. Fandango! is everything you’d expect from what’s written on the label label. It’s bluesy, no-nonsense music with great guitars.

I’ll always maintain the idea that my parents are some of the coolest cats ever. They’ve had their hands full with three daughters, but have yet to crack. I think it’s that reason why their favourite music feels a bit special. Even at the height of my twee phase, I always had time for ZZ Top. It’s beer-guzzlin’, balls-to-the-wall blues music. It might not be pretty, but it is pretty damn fun.

What albums remind you of your father?

P1010189Inner sleeve text: “ZZ Top’s first annual Texas size rompin’ stopin’ barndance & Bar B.Q. Austin – Summer ’74 with 80,000 friends.” The live album was recorded at The Warehouse in New Orleans. Close enough.

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