Happy 45th: ZZ Top, FANDANGO!
45 years ago this weekend – tomorrow, to be precise – ZZ Top released their fourth album, an LP which provided listeners with half live performances and half new studio recordings, resulting in a combination that took the trio into the top 10 and provided them with a top-20 single to boot.
The first side of FANDANGO! is the live side, and it was recorded at a New Orleans concert venue called The Warehouse on April 12, 1974. The performances are described as “captured as it came down – hot, spontaneous, and presented to you honestly, without the assistance of studio gimmicks,” which is pretty much what you want in a live album. Although there are technically only three tracks, the third track is the so-called “Backdoor Medley,” which consists of “Backdoor Love Affair,” Willie Dixon’s “Mellow Down Easy,” the second part of “Backdoor Love Affair,” and John Lee Hooker’s “Long Distance Boogie.” On the other hand, side two features six studio tracks, with the most famous of the bunch being the aforementioned top-20 single, “Tush,” but the album’s first single, “Heard It on the X,” has also received more than a little airplay over the years.
FANDANGO! hit #10 on the Billboard 200 upon its release, which – in addition to their hit single – helped to keep the band’s profile nice and high. Not coincidentally, it still remains that way even now.
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