Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas

ELVIS….otherwise known as The Big E, King Of Rock ’n‘ Roll, The Memphis Flash, The Jumpsuited One, The Vibrating Valentino, Ol ’Snake Hips, The Tennessee Troubadour, Mr. Sideburns, The Hillbilly Cat, The Cool Cat, or just EP. I think The Vibrating Valentino wins in the nickname department.

Viva Las Vegas was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman as the title song for the film of the same name starring Elvis Presley…. better-known AS…no I won’t go through that again. Pomus and Shuman wrote several other songs for Presley as well. Among them: “Little Sister,” “Suspicion,” and  “Surrender.”

In the movie, Elvis plays a race car driver who has to wait tables at a hotel in order to pay off a debt (no doubt to Colonel Tom Parker!). He performs this song at the hotel’s talent competition accompanied by various Vegas showgirls. Viva Las Vegas was the most successful of the 31 films Elvis starred in, returning more than $5 million to MGM Studios on an investment of less than $1 million.

I do remember this movie on TV. Why do I remember this Elvis movie more than others? No other than the co-star Ann-Margret.

Elvis and Ann-Margret Dance Together In Scene From 'Viva Las Vegas' |  Country Rebel – Unapologetically Country

The song peaked at #29 in the Billboard 100, #14 in Canada, #4 in New Zealand, and #17 in the UK in 1964. It did re-chart at #15 in the UK in 2007.

Billy Strange played guitar on this track. According to Strange’s son Jerry, musician’s royalties for the song came in for years thanks to slot machines that play the song.

The song was revived by ZZ Top, who took it to #10 in the UK, #16 in the Billboard Rock Charts, #34 in Canada, and #17 in New Zealand in 1992. 

Everything that is famous about Las Vegas comes up in the song…such as roulette, neon, hot dice, pretty women, blackjack, one-armed bandits, and bright lights. The song has served as an advertisement for the city although having a small consolation for losing everything…If I wind up broke up well
I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time…
Oh OK! A swinging time is worth it!

The Dead Kennedys also did a cover of the song…in their own unique way.

Viva Las Vegas

Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire
Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn,
So get those stakes up higher
There’s a thousand pretty women waitin’ out there
And they’re all livin’ the devil may care
And I’m just the devil with love to spare, so
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas
How I wish that there were more
Than the twenty-four hours in the day
Even if there were forty more
I wouldn’t sleep a minute away
Oh, there’s black jack and poker and the roulette wheel
A fortune won and lost on ev’ry deal
All you need’s a strong heart and a nerve of steel
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas with you neon flashin’
And your one arm bandits crashin’
All those hopes down the drain
Viva Las Vegas turnin’ day into nighttime
Turnin’ night into daytime
If you see it once
You’ll never be the same again
I’m gonna keep on the run
I’m gonna have me some fun
If it costs me my very last dime
If I wind up broke up well
I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time
I’m gonna give it ev’rything I’ve got
Lady luck please let the dice stay hot
Let me shoot a seven with ev’ry shot, ah
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas,
Viva Las Vegas, viva, viva Las Vegas


Elmore James – Dust My Broom

I first heard about Elmore James from a Rolling Stones book…Brian Jones was a huge fan of the blues artist. The song also helped bring Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Brian Jones together to form the Stones.

On November 23, 1936, Robert Johnson was in San Antonio Texas for his debut recordings. The first song he did was “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” in two versions, his second song was “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” and his third was “Sweet Home Chicago.” Johnson is usually credited with writing all three songs. Elements of this song can be traced back to several other blues songs. In 1934 Kokomo Arnold was in the studio in Chicago. He recorded Sagefield Woman Blues at a session, which contains maybe the first mention of the phrase “Dust My Broom” in the lyrics.

Elmore recorded and released his version in 1951. On the single, the song was credited to Elmo James. The song peaked at #9 in the R&B Charts in 1952. Elmore James’s version is probably the most popular version of the song. James’ “Dust My Broom” was inducted into the Blues Foundation Blues Hall of Fame in 1983… it was stated that it received more votes than any other record in the first year of balloting for singles.

Artists who have covered this song include Johnny Winter, Derek Trucks, ZZ Top, Ike and Tina Turner,  Robert Jr. Lockwood, John Littlejohn, Hound Dog Taylor, Homesick James and Frank Zappa.

Bill Wyman (bass player for the Rolling Stones): “The very first time Brian heard it, he played Elmore James’ ‘Dust My Broom.’ And Brain said the earth shattered and seemed to go off its axis, it was such an important moment in his life. He just went away and just tried to learn to play like Elmore James. And he sat in with the band, the Alexis Korner band, and played ‘Dust My Broom.’

By pure chance, that day Mick and Keith and a couple of their mates who’d been trying to put a band together in Dartford – unsuccessfully – went to see the Alexis Korner show as well, after reading about it in the music press. And they saw Brian Jones sitting onstage, this little white cat, sitting onstage and doing Elmore James, and it blew them away! So that was the Stones. Elmore James was a very, very important part, and if that hadn’t happened – that moment – maybe the Rolling Stones wouldn’t be here.”

Derek Trucks: “You can remember almost every Elmore James solo by heart because he was playing songs. Nothing’s wasted. Nothing’s throwaway. It doesn’t feel like somebody’s practicing in front of you, or running scales; these are melodies that are pouring out, and those are the players that I listen to. They move me.

Dust My Broom

I’m gettin’ up soon in the mornin’
I believe I’ll dust my broom
I’m gettin’ up soon in the mornin’
I believe I’ll dust my broom
Out with the best gal I’m lovin’
Now my friends can get in my room

I’m gonna write a letter, telephone every town I know
I’m gonna write a letter, telephone every town I know
If I don’t find her in Mississippi
She be in East Monroe I know

And I don’t want no woman
Want every downtown man she meets
No I don’t want no woman
Want every downtown man she meets
Man, she’s a no good doney
They shouldn’t allow her on the street, yeah

I believe, I believe my time ain’t long
I believe, I believe my time ain’t long
I ain’t gonna leave my baby
And break up my happy home

ZZ Top – Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers

The thing about ZZ Top is they never seem to take themselves too seriously. No concept albums or big love ballads… just good old fashion boogie blues rock.

I saw them in 1983 in Nashville. I remember the light show was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it since. Near the end they made it look as if the stage was shaking and someone fell out of the lighting rig to the stage. Everyone at first thought it was a real person but it was a stuffed dummy.

They sounded great that night and it’s a concert I’ll never forget. The Little Ol’ Band from Texas didn’t disappoint. Who knew at that time they would be be together over 50 years with the same members they started out with.

The death of Dusty Hill had me to pull out Tres Hombres and give it another listen. Compared to other trios like Cream or the Jimi Hendrix Experience…ZZ Top played more in a groove. Dusty wasn’t all over the place on bass but he kept that bottom end grounded for Gibbons guitar to dance around in while Beard was locked with Dusty.

Tres Hombres was released in 1973. The album had four of their best known early songs such as La Grange, Waitin’ For The Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago, and this one.

The album peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 in 1973 and #13 in Canada…thanks to Vic (The Hinoeuma Cosmic Observation) for the Canada info.

Billy Gibbons: “On to a gig in Phoenix, we were driving through a West Texas windstorm. We, the band, were waiting to discover a place with some safe ground cover when the late-night lights of a roadside joint appeared. It was just across the line outside El Paso into New Mexico.

We ducked in quick and came face to face with our kind of folks… those soulful souls seeking solace, not only out of the dust and sand, but out of mind. What chance does one get better than that! We joined the gathering and started scribbling.”

From Songfacts

Group composition “Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers” (with or without the ampersand) is a fun track with the band playing up to their Southern redneck image. Unusually, bass player Dusty Hill supplies the lead vocal, backed up by axeman Gibbons.

It has been suggested that the line, “Baby, don’t you wanna come with me?” means something a little more explicit than, “Would you like to accompany me to the honky-tonk, miss?” If that is indeed the case, then the censor missed it; although it was not released as a single it received considerable airplay, including in the UK, where in 1973 this sort of innuendo would not have been tolerated by the BBC.

The original version runs to 3 minutes 23 seconds, and the song has been covered by both Van Halen and Motörhead, the latter of whom produced a blistering track with some fine and innovative soloing by Fast Eddie Clarke, but as is often the case, the original has not been bettered. 

Here is a live version from 1980. I don’t like posting live versions unless they were done around the time of the release…this is as close as I could find as far as a video of them.

Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers

If you see me walkin’ down the line
with my fav’rite honky tonk in mind,
well, I’ll be here around suppertime
with my can of dinner and a bunch of fine.

Beer drinkers and hell raisers, yeah.
Uh-huh-huh, baby, don’t you wanna come with me?

The crowd gets loud when the band gets right,
steel guitar cryin’ through the night.
Yeah, try’n to cover up the corner fight
but ev’rything’s cool ’cause they’s just tight.

Beer drinkers and hell raisers, yeah.
Huh, baby, don’t you wanna come with me?
Ah, play it boy.

The joint was jumpin’ like a cat on hot tin.
Lord, I thought the floor was gonna give in.
Soundin’ a lot like a House Congressional
’cause we’re experimental and professional.

Beer drinkers, hell raisers, yeah.
Well, baby, don’t you wanna come with me?

ZZ Top – Francine

This song peaked at #69 on the Billboard 100, and it was on ZZ Top’s second album “Rio Grande Mud.” This was their first hit and the only single off of the album.

The song was written by Steve Perron and Kenny Cordray. They were not given credit for many years, and they received little or no royalties for decades.

ZZ Top are still together and one of the reasons they lasted so long was their long time manager Bill Ham. he produced or co-produced all of their albums up through 1996’s Rhythmeen as well as being their manager. They parted ways in 2006. He passed away in 2016 at 79.

Frank Beard: “I truly think the band would have broken within three years if Bill hadn’t been involved. He was the guy that smoothed things out whenever we got our feathers ruffled with each other and who always encouraged us no matter what. He was our father figure, simple as that.”

Billy Gibbons on the album: It was the first record that brought us into step with the writing experience. We started documenting events as they happened to us on the road; all of these elements went into the songwriting notebook. As we went along, we were keeping track of skeleton ideas as they popped up. The craft was certainly developing.


Got a girl, her name’s Francine,
finest thing you ever seen.
And I love her, she’s all that I want.
And I need her, she’s all that I need.

Well, Francine, oh Francis, why
do you love me and make me cry?
How I love her, she’s all that I want.
How I need her, she’s all that I need.

If I ever caught her with Stevie P
I’d throw her back in the Penitentiary, now.
And if I caught her with my mother’s son
I’ll call her daddy and get my gun.

My Fancine just turned thirteen,
she’s my angelic teenage queen.
And I love her, she’s all that I want.
And I need her, she’s all that I need.
And I love her, she’s all that I want.
And I need her, she’s all that I need.
And I love her, she’s all that I want.
And I need her, she’s all that I need.

ZZ Top – I Thank You

I love the sound of those earlier ZZ Top recordings.

I Thank You was a hit for Sam and Dave in 1968 and it peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100…It was also a hit for ZZ Top

Sam and Dave released this song on January 8, 1968. Stax would soon go through various business problems and their sound fell out of favor. “I Thank You” was the last big hit for Sam & Dave…none of their subsequent releases made the US Top 40.

This song was written and produced by the Stax Record Isaac Hayes and David Porter, who were Sam & Dave’s main songwriters.

ZZ Top decided to do the song when they found themselves recording at Ardent Studios in Memphis. Billy Gibbons had heard the song on his car radio and mentioned it. Turns out, the very same clavinet Isaac Hayes played on the original recording was in the studio, so they decided to give it a go.

ZZ Top covered this song on their 1979 album Deguello. Released as a single, it peaked to #34 in the Billboard 100 in 1980.

I Thank You

You didn’t have to love me like you did
But you did, but you did.
And I thank you.
You didn’t have to love me like you did
But you did, but you did.
And I thank you.
But you took your love to someone else
I wouldn’t know what it meant to be loved to death

You made me feel like I’ve never felt
Kisses so good I had to holler for help
You didn’t have to squeeze it but you did
But you did but you did
And I thank you.
You didn’t have to hold it but you did
But you did but you did
And I thank you.

Every day was something new,
You put on your bag and your fine to-do
You got me trying new things too
Just so I can keep up with you.

You didn’t have to shake it but you did
But you did but you did
And I thank you.
You didn’t have to make it like you did
but you did but you did
And I thank you.

All my life I’ve been shortchanged
Without your love baby it’s a crying shame
But now I know what the fellas talking about
Hear me say that they been turned out
I want to thank you
I want to thank you
I want to thank you
Yes, I want to thank you

ZZ Top – Cheap Sunglasses

The main reason I like ZZ Top is the tone that Billy Gibbons gets on his guitar…especially in the 1970s. The song is on Degüello released in 1979 and the album peaked at #24 in the Billboard Album charts. The song peaked at #89 in the Billboard 100 in 1980.

The inspiration for this song came when ZZ Top would tour in cars. When they stopped at gas stations they would see cardboard displays of cheap sunglasses. They ended up buying a lot and throwing them into the crowd.

The band wrote the song on a trip to Austin, Texas as they were passing La Grange. He came up with lyrics to all three verses in the span of 20 miles.

Billy Gibbons: “The hip trip for us was to throw them into the audience as an offering. We ran out and we couldn’t get any more. So we now have to make to do with Sanford Hutton’s creations out of New York. The Ray Ban Wayfarer was the original cheap sunglasses. You could buy a pair for six bucks originally. I saw a catalog from 1959, and by then they were up to eight bucks. We had to take a bad rap from an optometrist who said ‘Don’t wear ZZ Top’s cheap sunglasses. They’re bad for your eyes.’ There was an optometrists’ convention in Hawaii and there was a huge poster – this woman with a pointing finger saying, ‘Don’t wear cheap sunglasses.’ I suppose I’ll have to agree. There is a cutoff point where optical considerations must be taken into account. At that point in time, they are not intended to be used for negotiating the entire afternoon.”


ZZ Top took some time off after their 1976 album Tejas. When they returned to action in 1979, punk rock had emerged, emboldening the band to cut loose, with less concern about what FM radio might play. That attitude led to songs like “Manic Mechanic” and “Cheap Sunglasses.”

The band also came back with a new look: Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill had their long, flowing beards for the first time with the album. Gibbons and Hill claim they didn’t consult each other before growing them.

Billy Gibbons played the main guitar line through a 200-watt Marshall Major amp with a blown tube, which gave him the “bulbous, rotund sound.” He told Guitar World: “There’s also a little bit of digital delay for that Bo Diddley impersonation at the tail out, and a Maestro ring modulator, which produces the strange tag to each verse. It appears three times, and it’s a pretty funny sound. That is one insane effect put to good use.”

Cheap Sunglasses

When you get up in the morning and the light is hurt your head
The first thing you do when you get up out of bed
Is hit that streets a-runnin’ and try to beat the masses
And go get yourself some cheap sunglasses
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

Spied a little thing and I followed her all night
In a funky fine Levis and her sweater’s kind of tight
She had a west coast strut that was as sweet as molasses
But what really knocked me out was her cheap sunglasses
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

Now go out and get yourself some big black frames
With the glass so dark they won’t even know your name
And the choice is up to you cause they come in two classes
Rhinestone shades or cheap sunglasses
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

ZZ Top – Heard It On The X

The Fandango album was my first introduction to ZZ Top. The album was half live and half studio. This one and Tush were my favorites of the album.

This song is a tribute to the “Border Blaster” radio stations in Mexico, specifically the two that were run by the famous disc jockey Wolfman Jack, XERF in Via Acuna, , and XERB, (in Rosarito Beach near Tijuana).

Mexican radio stations did not have to adhere to the power limits of US stations, which gave them the ability to pump their signal well into the States.

This song was on the Fandango album and was not released as a single. The album peaked at #10 in the Billboard Album Chart and #60 in the UK.

The album was helped by the hit single Tush that peaked at #20 on the Billboard 100.

Billy Gibbons: “All Mexican stations’ call letters begin with X. The X stations used to be heard everywhere because of their enormous power. The Mexican government granted licenses with no wattage ceiling. The US, back in the ’20s, established 50,000 watts as the maximum. WLS in Chicago is 50,000 watts, and you can hear it like a police call in Houston. I’m sure 500,000 watts you can pick up here in Canada. You can probably pick up XERF. It was just outrageous. You could pick it up everywhere and we’d go. And it would bury everything else. KDRC in Houston was on a close frequency, and they would get stomped on. They had to move. XERF is 1570 on the dial. I think that remains the most powerful station.”

Dusty Hill: “They’ll sell segments to anybody. There are a lot of preachers on there. I heard them one time selling autographed prayer cloths. They were to put on your radio when you’re listening to these programs. But this one was autographed by Jesus himself. Then you’d hear a 15-minute country western show. Then there’d be a blues show. You could just buy your slot and do whatever. They didn’t have a whole lot of restrictions.”

From Songfacts

Asked if ZZ Top was ever played “on the X,” Gibbons said: “We did, in fact. They do not have a pop music playlist, but the song was brought to the attention of the station owner, who, it turns out, is an attorney in Del Rio who considers the station his favorite toy. He decided to have a 15-minute pop music segment, and we did get played on XERF and then on XERB in Rosarita. They also have XROC in Juarez. So it went full circle. We heard ‘I Heard It in the X’ on the X.”

Members of ZZ Top share the same influences, which helped forge their sound. The first line of this song is a nod to those influences, which they heard on the border blaster stations:

Heard It On The X

Do you remember
Back in nineteen sixty-six?
Country Jesus, hillbilly blues,
That’s where I learned my licks.
Oh, from coast to coast and line to line
In every county there,
I’m talkin’ ’bout that outlaw X
Is cuttin’ through the air.

Anywhere, y’all,
Everywhere, y’all,
I heard it, I heard it,
I heard it on the X.

We can all thank Doctor be
Who stepped across the line.
With lots of watts he took control,
The first one of its kind.
So listen to your radio
Most each and every night
’cause if you don’t I’m sure you won’t
Get to feeling right.

Anywhere, y’all,
Everywhere, y’all,
I heard it, I heard it,
I heard it on the X.

ZZ Top – Waitin’ For The Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago

It should be illegal to hear one of these songs without the other. The songs were off ZZ Top’s album Tres Hombres released in 1973. The album peaked at #8 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1974.

Billy Gibbons got the idea for this song when he was a teenager. He was talking on the phone to a friend who was known as “R&B Jr,” who had lots of strange sayings in his lexicon. One day Billy was talking to him on the phone when he blurted out, “Jesus Just Left Chicago!”

Billy Gibbons: “The two songs [“Waitin’ For The Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago”] were written separately during sessions that were not too far apart. We were in the process of compiling the tracks for the album Tres Hombres, and that segue was a fortunate miscalculation by the engineer. He had been attempting to splice out some blank tape, and the result is that the two come off as a single work. It just seemed to work.”

Billy Gibbons on Tres Hombres: We could tell that we had something special. The record became quite the turning point for us. The success was handwriting on the wall, because from that point we became honorary citizens of Memphis.


From Songfacts

Also alluded to as “Jesus Done Left Chicago,” this track follows on from “Waitin’ for the Bus” on the Tres Hombres album – radio stations often play the songs together.

The Deep South is noted for its Christian roots, and in spite of the hostile reception rock ‘n’ roll received from the Bible Belt when it first reared its head, many contemporary musicians began their musical careers in or around the church. The most famous white rock ‘n’ roller from the Deep South to combine the two was of course Elvis Presley, who recorded the odd religious song.

Although “Jesus Just Left Chicago” isn’t exactly a hymn, it does have a spiritual dimension and is written more in the style of Black Christian music, adhering to a strict blues format. And Gibbons is actually known as Reverend Billy Gibbons! 

Talking about this song with Rolling Stone, Gibbons explained: “We took what could have been an easy 12-bar blues and made it more interesting by adding those odd extra measures. It’s the same chords as “La Grange” with the Robert Johnson lick, but weirder. Robert Johnson was country blues – not that shiny hot-rod electric stuff. But there was a magnetic appeal: ‘What can we take and interpret in some way?'”

An early ZZ Top track, this kicks off the album Tres Hombres. For years, radio stations played it along with the following track, “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” keeping the natural segue on the album. This was an early casualty of automated corporate radio, as stations now rarely let one song flow into another like they do on the album.

In a 1985 interview with Spin magazine, ZZ Top bass player Dusty Hill said: “I’ve always liked that song. It’s a working man’s song. It’s been a couple of years, but I went to Austin from Houston and I decided, hell, I’ll ride the bus. I hadn’t done it in a long time. And you can meet some very unique people on a bus and in a bus station. I like to people watch. I love bus stations and train stations. The thing about a bus is who you have to sit beside. If the guy’s got good wine, it’s OK.”

Waitin’ On The Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago

Have mercy, been waitin’ for the bus all day
Have mercy, been waitin’ for the bus all day
I got my brown paper bag and my take-home pay

Have mercy, old bus be packed up tight
Have mercy, old bus be packed up tight
Well, I’m glad just to get on and home tonight

Right on, that bus done got me back
Right on, that bus done got me back
Well, I’ll be ridin’ on the bus till I Cadillac


Jesus just left Chicago
And he’s bound for New Orleans
Well now, Jesus just left Chicago
And he’s bound for New Orleans
Yeah, yeah
Workin’ from one end to the other and all points in between

Took a jump through Mississippi
Well, muddy water turned to wine
Took a jump through Mississippi
Muddy water turned to wine
Yeah, yeah
Then out to California through the forests and the pines
Ah, take me with you, Jesus

You might not see him in person
But he’ll see you just the same
You might not see him in person
But he’ll see you just the same
Yeah, yeah
You don’t have to worry ’cause takin’ care of business is his name

ZZ Top – Tush

The first time our band played in front of an audience…this was our opening song in the high school theater when I was 16. We thought of it as an old song but we played it in 1983…by that time it was only 8 years old.

ZZ Top came up with this song before a gig at a rodeo arena in Florence, Alabama. They were practicing a few hours before the show when Gibbons hit on the opening lick. He kept the riff going, and Dusty Hill improvised a vocal. The song was on the Fandango album.

The song peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100 and #14 in Canada in 1975.

On a humorous note… ZZ Top considered changing the lyrics and performing this as “Bush” when they were asked to play for fellow Texan George W. Bush at his inauguration party in 2001. They decided against it.

The song was named the 67th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.

From Songfacts

In a 1985 interview with Spin magazine, bass player Dusty Hill explained: “Tush, where I grew up, had two meanings. It meant what it means in New York. Tush is also like plush, very lavish, very luxurious. So it depended on how you used it. If somebody said, “That’s a tush car,’ you knew they weren’t talking about the rear and of the car. That’s like saying, ‘That’s a cherry short.’ But tush as in ‘That’s a nice tush on that girl,’ that’s definitely the same as the Yiddish word. I don’t know how we got it in Dallas. All it could have took was one guy moving down from New York.”

According to guitarist Billy Gibbons, they got the idea for the title from a song called “Tush Hog” by the Texas musician Roy Head, released in 1967.

Like “Pearl Necklace,” “Tube Snake Boogie,” and “Velcro Fly,” this song has different meanings depending on the listener interpretation. Such ambiguity keeps the songs radio-friendly while appealing to ZZ Top’s core audience.

The band pointed out to anyone who may have been offended that this song is gender neutral – it can be sung by a man or woman. Their point was proven in 1981 when the group Girlschool covered it on their album Hit & Run.

This was the first national hit for ZZ Top, who were very popular in Texas but little-known elsewhere. They usually play it in their encore.

This was ahead of its time if you consider how many “booty” songs came out years later, including “Baby Got Back,” “Rump Shaker” and “Thong Song.”

Billy Gibbons played a Les Paul guitar on this track through a 1969 Marshall Super Lead 100 amp. In the solo, he used a slide. He also used an unusual processing device called a Cooper Time Cube. Gibbons explained in Guitar World: “In a small rack-mounted can sits a small speaker right up next to maybe 50 feet of one-inch rubber tubing, which is coiled, spring-like. The sound waves actually take longer to travel, having to make these corners, creating a type of delay which is quite unlike the familiar sound of a digital delay. Some of the guitar sounds that appear to be doubled on the early albums are actually the byproduct of that oddball Cooper Time Cube.”


I been up, I been down
Take my word, my way around
I ain’t askin’ for much
I said, Lord, take me downtown
I’m just lookin’ for some tush

I been bad, I been good
Dallas, Texas, Hollywood
I ain’t askin’ for much
I said, Lord, take me downtown
I’m just lookin’ for some tush

Take me back way back home
Not by myself, not alone
I ain’t askin’ for much
I said, Lord, take me downtown
I’m just lookin’ for some tush

ZZ Top – Just Got Paid

“I just got paid today,
got me a pocket full of change.”

That Little Ol’ Band From Texas has a great groove going on in this song. I was going to save this to a more appropriate Friday but for some of us the days are blending into each other at home so let’s just pretend.

This song was inspired by Peter Green’s opening riff in Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well.” Billy Gibbons was living in Los Angeles, sitting on the steps of his apartment and it was raining and he couldn’t go anywhere… he kept trying to learn that riff and as he said…it got tangled up and it stayed tangled up.

Just Got Paid was on their second album, Rio Grande Mud released in 1972. The album peaked at #104 in the Billboard Album Charts. The song didn’t chart in the Billboard 100 but it has become an FM staple.

Just Got Paid

I just got paid today,
got me a pocket full of change.
Said, I just got paid today,
got me a pocket full of change.
If you believe like workin’ hard all day,
just step in my shoes and take my pay.

I was born my papa’s son,
when I hit the ground I was on the run.
I had one glad hand and the other behind.
You can have yours, just give me mine.
When the hound dog barkin’ in the black of the night,
stick my hand in my pocket, everything’s all right.

I just got paid today,
got me a pocket full of change.
Said, black sheep, black, do you got some wool?
Yes, I do, man, my bag is full.
It’s the root of evil and you know the rest
but it’s way ahead of what’s second best.


ZZ Top – I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide

ZZ Top is a fun band. I liked their stuff but when they made the Eliminator album in 1983 they seemed to remake it over and over again from then on. Their music before that album is a little rawer and edgier. Billy Gibbons is a great guitar player and  Jimi Hendrix was a fan of his.

This song was released in 1979 and didn’t chart but it remains one of my favorites of them.

They are a tight band and I was given a ticket to one of their shows in the early 80s and they were a lot of fun to watch. Never been a huge fan but they had a huge sound for a trio. I’ve heard Bruce Springsteen cover this song.

From Songfacts.

This song was inspired by Texas blues musician named Joey Long, who was good friends with the band. As Billy Gibbons tells it, Long didn’t have a driver’s license, but he always had new Cadillac that his beautiful wife Barbarella used to drive him to gigs.

The song is confabulated so Long is enjoying the company of a few lovely ladies during this ride, all wearing nylons, spike-heeled shoes and smoking Lucky Strikes – he was living large!

Long, who died in 1995, wasn’t as rich or famous as he’s made out to be in the song, but he was one of the most acclaimed blues guitarists in Texas and a mentor to Gibbons, who cites Long’s playing on the Barbara Lynn track “We Got A Good Thing Going” as a formative influence.

Billy Gibbons played what he described as “a multi-stringed mandolin-like instrument from Parral, Mexico” that Joey Long gave him on this track. “If you listen closely, you can hear close-miked mandolin-sounding rhythm accompaniment,” he told Guitar World. “The lead track was played on a custom-made, half-sized, real short-scaled guitar tuned to G. It was actually standard tuning cranked up three steps, which remained quite playable thanks to the guitar’s short scale.

The song’s tail end alternates between three distinct effects created by two pedals: an Echoplex doubler and a Maestro octave box alternating every third bar between having the octave up and the octave down.”


I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide

Well I was rollin’ down the road in some cold blue steel
I had a blues man in back, and a beautician at the wheel
We going downtown in the middle of the night
We laughing and I’m jokin’ and we feelin’ alright

Oh I’m bad, I’m nationwide
Yes I’m bad, I’m nationwide

Easin’ down the highway in a new Cadillac
I had a fine fox in front, I had three more in the back
They sportin’ short dresses, wearin’ spike-heel shoes
They smokin’ Lucky Strikes, and wearing nylons too

‘Cause we bad, we nationwide
Yeah we bad, we nationwide

Well I was movin’ down the road in my V-8 Ford
I had a shine on my boots, I had my sideburns lowered
With my New York brim and my gold tooth displayed
Nobody give me trouble ’cause they know I got it made

I’m bad, I’m nationwide
Well I’m bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, I’m nationwide
Yes man!