ZZ TOP Releases 'Brown Sugar' From 'Raw' Live Album

March 25, 2022

ZZ TOP has reached back to its very early days with the first track to be released from their forthcoming "Raw" album, out July 22 from Shelter Records through BMG. "Brown Sugar" was a key cut on the very appropriately titled ZZ TOP's first album that was released in January of 1971. Available today, "Brown Sugar" is the opening track on "Raw", which itself is an homage to the band's early days.

ZZ TOP's "Brown Sugar", penned by Billy Gibbons, should not be mistaken for THE ROLLING STONES song of the same title, the latter of which was actually released three months after ZZ TOP's first album.

"Raw" was recorded and filmed for the Grammy-nominated Netflix documentary "That Little Ol' Band From Texas" in the intimate setting of the famed Texas honky-tonk Gruene Hall between Austin and San Antonio. The historic venue dates to 1878 and has been in continuous use as the oldest, continually operating joint in the state. Gibbons, Frank Beard and the late Dusty Hill gathered there to record in a spare, bare bones way and the result of those efforts is "Brown Sugar" along with eleven additional tracks that comprise the "Raw" tune stack.

Gibbons commented: "'Brown Sugar' has been sweetening our concert sets for many decades now, so it seemed like the right song to kick off 'Raw'. The Gruene Hall session was a satisfying return to our roots and a very special circumstance that we're delighted to share with the friends and fans who have stuck with us all this time."

When the three members of ZZ TOP gathered at Gruene Hall, they were in each other's line of sight, making for a very organic recording session, part of which is seen in the film. "Raw", the totality of their efforts there, will be available on 180-gram vinyl, CD and through digital platforms. The album was produced by Gibbons, engineered by Jake Mann and G.L. G-Mane Moon and mixed by Ryan Hewitt. The album is issued "in righteous memory" of Hill, who passed away last year.

The "Raw" title is derived from the unfettered and straightforward manner in which the tracks were recorded. As seen in the film, the bandmembers played, for the most part, together within sight of each other in the course of one day. The methodology employed was something of an homage to the way ZZ TOP recorded at the start of its epic five plus decades run at the pinnacle of rock's pantheon.

The album's liner notes by Billy and Frank explain the approach: "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 busses. Just us and the music. 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! It was as bare bones as when we first started touring in a behemoth Chrysler station wagon, driving vast stretches between those early far-flung shows under blackened Texas skies and first hearing our records on the radio. We were bonded as brothers.

"'The Dust' may have left the building but he's still very much with us."

"Raw" track listing:

Side 1

01. Brown Sugar
02. Just Got Paid
03. Heard It On The X
04. La Grange
05. Tush
06. Thunderbird

Side 2

01. I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide
02. Gimme All Your Lovin'
03. Blue Jean Blues
04. Certified Blues
05. Tube Snake Boogie

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