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Billy Gibbons & Co., ‘Oh Well’ – Song Review

Just Tell Me That You Want Me
Hear Music / Concord

Just days after the announcement of a new Fleetwood Mac tribute album, fans can hear the first offering. ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons fronts a group that slows down and swampifies the 1969 hit ‘Oh Well.’ 

No one will accuse Gibbons, Matt Sweeney and Blake Mills of being intimidated by the already bluesy rock song. Their version is an original, born from the mud of Mississippi Delta.

This new power trio stretch a two or three minute cut (original version) to nearly five minutes of rootsy rambling with bare bones percussion and organ garnish. Gibbons is a burly behemoth on vocals, which don’t begin until almost 90 seconds into the song.

I can’t help about the shape I’m in / I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin,” Gibbons begins, commanding your attention like an eight foot gorilla. “But don’t ask me what I think of you / I might not give the answer that you want me to.”

The new version may not play well with Fleetwood Mac‘s most loyal fans, as the legendary group rarely made music this dirty. Much of Gibbon’s singing is over little more than a cymbal click or hallow acoustic guitar. The familiar riff that carries the song isn’t muted, only slowed down to allow one space to savor the other ingredients during the extended jams. The song almost stops at 3:05.

Now, when I talked to God I knew he’d understand / He said stick by my side and I’ll be your guiding hand,” Gibbons begins again, growling the title like ‘Oh Well’ was one from his Texas twosome’s catalog. Sweeney has another cut on ‘Just Tell Me That You Want Me,’ available Aug. 14. This song makes you want to hear it immediately.

Listen to Billy Gibbons & Co., 'Oh Well'

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