ZZ TOP – Legends. Rock ‘N Roll Hall Of Famers. Mammoth Influence on all genres of Rock. Now then, when a cover song album of ZZ Top songs is released, these “covers” better be damn good. I can’t stand it when a band or musician just messes around with a Rock classic and “thinks” their famous name alone will give them a pass. Not here folks. I will present to you: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly when it comes to these ZZ Top cover songs I’ve been listening to on: A Tribute From Friends. Plus, I won’t be swayed by the fact that these are “friends” of ZZ TOP. Sometimes “friends” can ruin a classic song without even trying.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
The opening track is Sharp Dressed Man performed by The M.O.B. Who’s The M.O.B.? Mick Fleetwood, Steven Tyler and John McVie. At first, I found this song fun. Then, it irritated the living hell out of me. All I kept picturing was The M.O.B. performing this song at a senior citizen Summer picnic or some Sunday afternoon church fair, with all in attendance going crazy for it. When a cover song sounds “old” and trudging… that’s what happens to my imagination.
Somehow Wolfmother had Cheap Sunglasses thrown in their lap to cover. Not good. I dig the first two studio albums from Wolfmother, only I don’t grasp this cover of Cheap Sunglasses. Annoying. I’ll have to admit, this is the first time I’ve ever been not keen to Andrew Stockdale’s vocals. Another problem is, this cover song sounds way too much like… Wolfmother. A disinterested Wolfmother at that.
So sorry that a Rockaholic and Metalhead like myself had NO clue who Wyclef Jean is until now. Rough Boy sounds so over-covered here entirely. Come on now, a Hip Hop / R&B artist covering a ZZ Top song? That is not an entirely bad idea, as long as this song is on an album of covers from ALL artists of Wyclef Jean’s genre.
This song unfortunately doesn’t fit in with the “Rock” flow for me, on this album. To my ears, Rough Boy was as “commercial” as it could get for ZZ TOP back in 1986 and this cover only magnifies it’s “Pop” personality to an embarrassing level. If Wyclef Jean is a friend of ZZ Top’s, then ZZ TOP should have remembered: “friends don’t let friends cover their songs”.
Nickelback. Yes, Nickelback. This love ’em or hate ’em Hard Rockin’ band knocked it out of the Classic Rock park with their cover of Legs. This song does sound like Nickelback, yet they did not stray from the non-stop Rockin’ groove that this song originally was all about. Nickelback just gave it more heaviness.
Daughtry. Yes, Daughtry. This guy sings Waitin’ For The Bus / Jesus Left Chicago as if he really digs and feels the song thoroughly. I make NO apologies, Chris Daughtry sings this ZZ TOP classic straight from the heart. Hell, that’s how it comes across to me anyways. Plus, Daughtry didn’t screw around with this songs tempo or try to “reinvent the F’n wheel” with it.
Mastodon. These guys gave Just Got Paid their signature stamp of progressiveness without even trying. Turning Just Got Paid into a relevant Hard Rock song that smokes was obviously… the mission of Mastodon.
Filter covers Gimme All Your Lovin‘ with a grand Alternative meets Industrial sound that is admirable. It’s Filter. The legendary Billy F Gibbons lends his vocals and electric guitar to La Grange. Cool. The remaining tracks are fine listens, just watch out for the bad and the ugly. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
* ZZ TOP – A Tribute From Friends was released back on October 11th, 2011, via Show Dog / Universal.
A Tribute From Friends – Track Listing:
Sharp Dressed Man – The M.O.B. (Steven Tyler, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie)
Gimme All Your Lovin’ – Filter
Tush – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Legs – Nickelback
Cheap Sunglasses – Wolfmother
Got Me Under Pressure – Duff McKagan’s Loaded
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers – Coheed & Cambria
Just Got Paid – Mastodon
Rough Boy – Wyclef Jean
Waitin’ For The Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago – Daughtry
La Grange – Jamey Johnson
LONG LIVE ZZ TOP.
LONG LIVE “GOOD” ZZ TOP COVER SONGS.