The fifth and final installment of the ZZ Top vinyl rips comes to us courtesy of Cosmic Hearse passenger, Deege Dunford, who painstakingly ripped this. Much appreciation goes to Mr. Dunford for taking the initiative and sharing with our dear readers. The following notes come from Deege himself...
These are all the original mixes of the classic '70s ZZ Top catalog.For those of you not familiar with the history of these recordings:Before 1987, ZZ Top's first 7 albums were not released on CD format. So, in 1987, to capitalize on the success of the synth and drum machine
laden sound of Eliminator and Afterburner, Warner Bros Records convinced the band to go back into the studio and remix the back catalog, in order to release a 3-disc compilation of six albums, called Six Pack .These new mixes were terrible - gone was the rawness of what made classic ZZ Top what it was replaced instead with fake, annoying sounding drums and drowned in a sea of cavernous reverb. Some vocal lines and guitar parts were even re-recorded or alternate takes were used, and a few songs were even shortened, so that two albums worth of material could be jammed onto one disc. Fortunately, the band's sixth album, 1979's Degüello was spared this treatment, due to a dispute with Elmore James' estate, over the lisencing of the cover song Dust My Broom. This album was left off of the six pack, and replaced with the band's seventh album El Loco. After the dispute was settled, Degüello was eventually released on CD with it's original mix. In 2003 a 4 CD box set Chome, Smoke & BBQ was released, which contained an abundance of theseclassic '70s recordings remastered in their original mixes for the first time on CD. In 2006, the band's albums Tres Hombres and Fandango! were also remastered and re-released in their original mixes as well. As of yet, ZZ Top's First Album, Rio Grande Mud, Tejas, and El Loco have still not been released in their original mix. In my attempt to finally be able to listen to these albums they were originally meant to sound, on CD, I have spent the last few days compiling the best versions available of these albums in order to make these original versions available to anyone else whose ears were offended by the terrible '80s butchering of these classic albums. Included for download are the 2006 remasters of Tres Hombres and Fandango (live bonus tracks not included, as I wanted the albums to be as originally intended). For these other 3 albums, I have included all of the Chrome, Smoke & BBQ remasters, and for the songs on each album that were not included on the box set, I used versions ripped from the original vinyl albums. In order to make these vinyl rips sound as close to the 2003 Box Set remasters as possible,
I have used the Steinberg FreeFilter Direct-X plugin in order to get an EQ profile of both the CD sourced tracks, and the vinyl tracks - and then the program automatically applies the EQ profile of the remastered tracks to the vinyl tracks. I then used the Waves L2 Limiter in order to make the vinyl sourced tracks the same volume as the CD sourced tracks. In the case of Backdoor Love Affair from ZZ Top's First Album, I used the CD version from 1977's Greatest Hits, as it was released with it's original mix. Surprisingly, it's pretty difficult to tell the difference between the CD sourced material and the vinyl sourced material, and we are finally album to hear these albums as originally intended.
Unfortunatly, I have been unable to find a vinyl rip of 1981's El Loco, so that album is not included here. I am a bigger fan of the band's '70s output anyway, so I am not too worried about El Loco at this point anyway.