Neil Daniels' new book on the music of ZZ Top is a hands-on, down and dirty guide to the recorded legacy of Texans Billy F. Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard. The author has an acute sense of diving into the heart of any subject about whom he's writing, and his observations and analyses of ZZ Top's music are right on the money.
Here, Daniels lays out the ZZ Topography.
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers is not a biography per se, rather, as the subtitle suggests, a fans' handbook; a guide to their history and music. The first part is a potted history of the band, detailing their genesis and subsequent rise to fame. The second part offers mini-biographies of those names associated with the band, as well as artists the trio have influenced and those who have influenced Z Top in the first place. Part three lists some of the awards the band have won as well as other bits and pieces of trivia which chart the band's rise to fame. The fourth and final part outlines the band's studio output as well as notable tours and live appearances.
Daniels covers it all. The writing is clean and unencumbered and full of facts. As he always does--many of his other books including a recent release on UFO have been reviewed on these pages--the writer comes at his subjects like a mad-dog fan but equipped with the discerning eye and literary skill set of the practiced journalist.
Why did ZZ Top grow beards? Who is the golfer in the group? What are their highest charting songs? Find answers to all of those questions and anything else you can think of in Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers. If it isnít in here, it isnít worth knowing.