CD Reviews

Rocky Hill - 'Lone Star Legend' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 21, 2012    
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Decent southern music.

The rather dreadful cover artwork to this album, along with the title, left me in little doubt about the kind of Texas influenced music this album would contain, but my hopes were raised somewhat when I discovered that Rocky was the older brother of ZZ Top legend Dusty Hill. He even played in a sixties trio called The American Blues with drummer Frank Beard, who of course would go on to be band mates with Dusty and Billy Gibbons in the definitive Texas blues trio. While his brother went that way, Rocky immersed himself as a student of the blues, playing with a number of revered artists such as Jimmy Reed and Freddy King.

Rocky passed away in 2009, leaving behind a legacy of three solo albums, and by all accounts a lot of fond memories of those who saw him play guitar. This album collects a series of recordings laid down in 1977, written by a mixture of artists from Rocky himself to Townes Van Zandt and David Olney. Due to the usual trials and tribulations of switching managers and various other things, the material has been gathering dust on tape ever since, finally getting mastered to CD for this release.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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With that in mind, the production isn't going to be giving Dennis Ward any sleepless nights, but it's perfectly listenable. As my first introduction to Rocky, two things are clear - one, his guitar skills are indisputable as he infuses the blues with some spectacularly impressive fretboard fireworks. Two, while he may have inherited the guitar playing talent, it's obvious brother Dusty got the voice. Rocky's voice is thin and average, but again, it's listenable.

The music you can easily imagine - rock infused blues dealing with stories of revenge as detailed in 'Take A Message To Dupree', chasing outlaws like 'Sam Bass', or the just plain bad ass 'The Charleston Knife'. 'Hoodoo Eyes' features some excellent work and a fine use of fiddles to add a country feel to the thumping blues rock foundation.

Musically, if you like early ZZ Top, before they found drum machines and synthesisers and became megastars with 'Eliminator', you may find Rocky Hill of interest. Like Tommy Bolin, who had such a great ability on guitar you could easily get over his vocal shortcomings, Rocky puts in a similar performance here. While I felt it was decent southern music, I don't think it's as good as early ZZ Top, but it's by no means bad. It has been buried in the vaults for thirty five years and as such sounds very much of its time, but if you turn on today's chart radio, you'll soon discover that's no bad thing either.

James Gaden

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