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Albums Of The Week: ZZ Top | Raw

That Little Ol' Band From Texas — including late bassist Dusty Hill — saunter through a dozen hits and highlights for this live soundtrack from their recent documentary.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Raw is a new live album from the original line up of ZZ Top Billy F Gibbons, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill — created in a singular circumstance. The album was recorded at Gruene Hall in Texas as part of the Grammy-nominated documentary ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas.

The film’s Canadian director Sam Dunn sought a means to visually convey how the band made albums at its inception — with all of three members in the same room at the same time. The classic honky-tonk setting of Gruene Hall, established back in 1878, was chosen for an unfettered, roots-oriented recording session that is chronicled in the documentary. Released by Banger Films, the feature offers insight into the history of the band’s classic Gibbons/Beard/Hill incarnation.

The new album’s liner notes by Gibbons and Beard note of the Raw sessions: “It was, in a very real way, a return to our roots. Just us and the music, no audience of thousands, no concession stands, no parking lot social hour, no phalanx of tour buses. Just us. We knew right then it was a very special circumstance, all of us in the same place at the same time and what a time it most certainly was!”

Gibbons commented, “The director suggested we find a way to illustrate the early style from the start of our five plus decades run. Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas, was selected as a fitting backdrop to replicate the look of the band’s very beginnings. When we arrived, we were surprised to see that all our gear had been transported there so, as cameras rolled, we picked up the instruments and commenced an unplanned jam session. Fortunately, our stage engineers were on hand with tape machines in place to capture the performances that went down. That became, in essence, the soundtrack to the film and now it’s also an audio document of ZZ Top’s early beginnings. Still going strong today.

“Our director suggested going back to what it was like when we first started recording in our early days: the band in the studio together in a mostly unfettered way. We were quite comfortable in the room as heard on the tracks with that level of branded intimacy.”

Raw’s 12 tracks include Certified Blues, originally heard on ZZ Top’s First Album as well as La Grange, the band’s 1973 breakthrough and Tush, Gimme All Your Lovin’, Legs and other eternal ZZ Top song catalog standouts. The album, captured during the one day, kept the whole process simple and straightforward. Gibbons served as producer, with engineering by Jake Mann and G.L. G-Mane Moon. Raw was mixed by Ryan Hewitt.”