1979’s Degüello is…ZZ Top’s funk album? Each side opens with a cover: Sam & Dave’s “I Thank You” to start, and Robert Johnson’s “Dust My Broom” on Side Two, but in between, originals like “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide,” “Cheap Sunglasses,” and “Lowdown In The Street” let the band stretch out at surprising length (for them), with grooves lasting nearly five minutes at times. Dusty Hill’s bass is a distorted, dub-funk rumble, while Billy Gibbons delivers an absolute master class in tastefully ugly blues recontextualization and Frank Beard keeps the beat ticking and booming along with impeccable precision and enviable, deceptive simplicity. On “She Loves My Automobile,” their “no guests in the recording studio” policy led them to learn just enough trumpet and sax to play the Stax-style horn charts they wanted.

Phil Freeman