untune that string and hark

Friday OT feedback

This is one of the posts I’ve been meaning to write for a while, with its first job to thank any and all of you that have written in and commented on any one of the Friday OT posts we’ve run here. It’s one of those little regular slots on the blog and it’s pleasantly surprising to see how much comes back, which could be anything from a two letter “great tune!” mail to one time where a regular reader went to six pages worth of script about Led Zep.
Yesterday’s Friday OT, ZZ Top Just Got Paid, has brought four six fourteen (errr…guys, I gotta get the Weekly written) mails and a cool IM discussion (so far) and here are two disparate reactions to it. First up TM, who writes:

This is a WAY better version. I have the DVD and it’s amazing. Joe Bonamassa is, in my opinion, one of the greatest living guitarist around. Hope you feature him on your blog.”

OK TM, here’s the video as per wishes.

Secondly reader A wrote this, one of the better mails received after a Friday OT. Just thought I’d share and I know A won’t mind.

Just noticed the ZZ Top vid on your blog.  The first album was recorded in Tyler Texas where I grew up.  I was 17 years old when it was released. While they were recoding it they used to play almost every night at a little club called the “Lighthouse” in Tyler. We would get stoned out of our minds and go sit on pillows on the floor, maybe 25 people and watch Billy Gibbons do amazing things with the guitar. I have some real fine memories of that time. Probably the best show I ever saw was at the National Guard Armory in Jacksonville Texas a few years later. The band was getting some recognition by then and Billy was just fabulous. They were playing Brown Sugar and in the middle of it he started playing these Clapton riffs from Deserted Cites of the Heart…. just blew my mind.
First time I ever saw ZZ Top was at Panther Hall in Ft. Worth Texas Feb. 1970 as the opening act for Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead. Heavy water light show from San Francisco and the works. Changed my life.
Thanks for jogging the memories, A

Tell you what, people. Having a blog is fun.

UPDATE: Reader ‘TK’ carries the baton further. FWIW, I agree with his call that 1) it comes down to what you like and 2) ZZ Top’s version takes it for being tighter and for playing the song as a group….and also Dusty’s bass rocks. But that’s me, here’s TK:

First of all, thanks for posting a great Friday OT, and Joe Bonamassa’s version of Just Got Paid.  I always love hearing different really good versions of a good song. And I got to hear someone new to me.  I want to hear Joe Bonamassa live.
After listening to Bonamassa’s version – which I had to turn up to 11 – with TM’s claim of it being a way better version (a partly subjective call), I had to go back and listen to the ZZ Top version again (also turned it up to 11.)
Here is my reaction, as a total music amateur.  (I played tenor sax in the high school concert and jazz bands, and in a church polka band, me and six accordions, and a bass player and drummer, when the two of them occasionally showed up.  I acknowledge this experience could have skewed my perception of music.)
I have to give this one to ZZ Top, firstly as the version I enjoyed the most. But, secondly, I think ZZ Top did it better overall.  It sounded tighter, and like they were playing as a band, more as a unit. The Joe Bonamassa version sounded like Joe’s excellent playing dressed up with the accompaniment (also really good.) ZZ Top plays with their distinct sound.  While Joe’s guitar playing stands out, the band’s overall sound, as much as I liked it, didn’t stand out that much from a lot of other good bands.
Both versions were great music, but it comes down to what you like.  I think guitar nuts (I know a couple) might lean towards Joe’s guitar-first, everything-else-second sound.
OT from that: if you have two percussionists, shouldn’t they each do something pretty different?  Otherwise, what’s the point of having two?  I didn’t hear them diverging often.  If you need louder percussion, when they’re wired, can’t you just turn the one up?.  And what was the keyboardist doing?  I must have missed something.


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