Somewhere I read that Jimi Hendrix was an early fan of Bill Gibbons, the guitarist of ZZ Top. It’s easy to imagine. The full-bodied musician plays an impudently cool and bluesy guitar. An absolute master of reduction.
He also proves this in the not so well known title “El Diablo” from the 1977 album “Tejas”. At that time I bought the longplayer together with “Deguello” and listened for a while mainly to the unconventional Tex-Mex-/Blues-Rock brew of the trio. “El Diablo” was – and is – one of my favourite songs of the trio. A quiet track. But at the same time it also sounds fateful and gloomy. My favourite passage comes for the first time after the second verse: a kind of instrumental bridge with a great guitar theme. It’s just a few notes that Gibbons strikes here and lets fade away for a long time – to achieve a dramatic effect. His two good companions on bass and drums naturally hold back in an exemplary manner and underpin the crackling and tense atmosphere with stoic rhythm work. Towards the end of the track this passage comes again: even longer, even more exciting. A top song by ZZ Top.