Rick Rubin has just produced another watershed masterpiece; ZZ Top’s best recording since Deguello. La Futura , out on American Recordings, simmers like Hot Chorizo Texas Chili with a layer of pure Agave Tequila set on fire bruja ja rising into the air.

This is what a career is suppose to be, a band that just keeps getting better and better and comes up with a crowning achievement decades later.  La Futura literally sits with The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magic and the Johnny Cash American Recordings as Producer Rick Rubin’s current best of the best.

Billy Gibbons voice is all “Whiskey and Gravel” kicking off with a Lightnin’ Malcolm meets Billy at the crossroads groove “Gotsta Get Paid”, just a double call and response to their own “Just Got Paid,” and the rap hit “25 Lighters.” No easy task, being a prequel to “Just got paid today, got me a pocket full of change,” and a current rap tune. Let’s call it, multi-tasking.

La Futura inset photo- credit- ZZ Top.com

The second cut is what made me go out and get a copy. I heard “Chartreuse’” all “Tush” all over the place on Elizabeth Cook’s Outlaw Country radio show on Sirius Radio the other day and I said “Whoa man, this isn’t just another ZZ Top album for a tour, this is choice grade T-Bone!”

Elizabeth has the best radio show on the air or internet right now. You can call it country, but, she is all over the place, a real tastemaker, literally the “Rodney Bingenheimer” of Americana. Elizabeth just may be the one person that cleans out the fuel injectors of what is now Country music.

Recorded at Foam Box Recording in Houston, Texas, ZZ Top take it back to the old neighborhood, even showing a little of those early day influences like “Over You” with its “Whiter Shade of Pale” late 60’s vibe, Mellotron strings even coming in.

Just when you think the album is going towards Eliminator without any electronic drums, Billy throws down some clean loud Les Paul talking to Mr. Marshall blues on “I Don’t Wanna Lose, Lose, You.”

The best way to describe the album is being back down to the bone dry boogie three piece, with decades of guitar tone knowledge that puts the microphone in the paper speaker cone and will cause instant goose bumps for all those guitar tone dogs that sit for hours in new and used amplifier shops looking for the Holy Grail, an old Park 50 Watt head, Brown Tolex Fenders, original Orange amp, a pre Mesa Boogie’d Fender Deluxe, a Hendrix era Marshall Plexi and then compare them to maybe a Dr. Z, Divided by 13 or Samamp. If you like Electric Guitar that just shreds with fuzzy warmth and revs like a 65 Corvette or six-pack Barracuda, this is it Brotha!

Photo – ZZ Top.com

La Futura deserves to be heard while driving in your El Camino, windows rolled down, the 350 double 4 barrel carbs just kicking a jet blast out the twin tailpipes and the 400 Watt Fosgate with an EQ Booster rolling the 8 track through the spindle.

The Eliminator car is on the back cover as a current day “Rat Rod” ready to roll in what looks like a vintage photo. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination and, no, I wasn’t paid by a publicist to write this, I just got to say it’s good for ZZ Top to be back for more than just a tour stop! Pica Talcon! Andale! Rapido! Man, I need a plate of spicy Texas Enchiladas covered in grated sharp cheddar and Queso Blanco; I’ll have to settle for Pepperfire’s Hot Chicken!

I have a couple of suggestions; U2, where are those Rick Rubin Produced tracks you should have put out? And …Eddie, next time take Roth and the Van Halen brood down to this Houston, Texas studio and let Rick Rubin Produce the dang thing.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com