Zz Top’s Billy Gibbons Releases ‘Jingle Bell Blues’
Billy F Gibbons, apart from his five decades-long role fronting ZZ TOP, has in recent years recorded three much-lauded solo albums for Concord Records, including “Hardware”, released this past June. To cap off the year, Concord is releasing a singular single, “Jingle Bell Blues”, on November 9. It’s Billy‘s reworking of the eternal “Jingle Bells” with some significant modifications or “Kustom” touches. “Bells on hot rods ring” is one such and mention is made of a “drop-top” sleigh. While the song exudes holiday cheer, the gut- bucket vocal approach that Billy applies to the repertoire is nothing short of extraordinary. Billy‘s guitar solos can best be described as “epic” and should heat up virtually any holiday get-together whether indoors or out. Also of literal note is the harmonica solo that renders the recording something of an homage to Jimmy Reed in a sonically up-to-date context.
Recorded in Nashville this past June by Gibbons and Michael Fiorentino, the track is available digitally as well as a lavishly packaged 45 RPM single, pressed on red translucent vinyl. The cover art depicts multiple Cadillac Fleetwood Broughams stacked to reflect the shape of a traditional Christmas tree while the obverse is adorned by a swanky stylized wire wheel.
The use of “singular” is intentional as only one track, “Jingle Bell Blues”, is offered. The “flip side” of the record is an etched surface that replicates the sidewall of a bias ply tire with raised letters spelling out the song title and Billy‘s name. Lastly, and of special note, is the fact that the red vinyl version comes with a Billy F Gibbons center hole adapter making it easy to play on any standard turntable.
“It dawned on us that everybody loves Christmas music,” says Billy of the new single, “and everybody loves the Jimmy Reed blues vibe, so we figured we’d combine them. We threw in some hot rod references for good measure because our preferred sleigh is the horsepower-propelled kind.
“I suppose it could have been produced with a small hole and we wouldn’t have had to deal with the adapter, but this is, at its essence, a juke box record. It was even mixed with that in mind,” he added.
“Around Christmas, it always seems that there are five to ten holiday selections listed in the lower right corner of a typical juke box in a typical juke joint, the song titles and artist names printed on wreath-bedecked title strips. Our hope is for ‘Jingle Bell Blues’ to be one of those records. Bing Crosby, David Bowie, Elvis, Brenda Lee, Jose Feliciano, Otis Redding, Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, Gene Autry, and not forgetting Adam Sandler, need some company and we’d be thrilled to provide it in the spirit of the season.”
To comment on a
story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you’re logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of
does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the “Report to Facebook” and “Mark as spam” links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.
reserves the right to “hide” comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to “ban” users that violate the site’s Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user’s Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a “banned” user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the “banned” user’s comments will only be visible to the user and the user’s Facebook friends).