How ZZ High Overcame Dreaded ‘Purple Mild Fever’ on ‘Rio Grande Mud’

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By early 1972, ZZ High had already turn into a terrific dwell band. With their second album, Rio Grande Mud, they started to discover ways to seize that vitality within the studio.

Lower than two years after its February 1970 dwell debut, the group was nicely on its method to turning into seasoned street warriors. “We had been gigging 350-odd days a yr with some actually depraved headliners,” singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons recalled in his 2020 guide Rock + Roll Gearhead. “By ’72 our onstage abilities had been getting good and sharp.”

Though their 1971 debut, ZZ High’s First Album, had been comparatively well-received, the group knew it wanted to take an upward leap with its second album. “If you’re a bunch of men in a band taking part in golf equipment and bars, a studio is usually a chilly, antiseptic and intimidating place,” Gibbons instructed Music Radar in 2013. “We had been nonetheless getting used to the dichotomy of the 2.”

They discovered an ally in Rio Grande Mud engineer Robin Brian, who owned the Texas-based Robin Hood studio the place the album was recorded. “Robin did so much to ensure we did not expertise the dreaded ‘pink mild fever,'” Gibbons defined, referring to the paralyzing efficiency anxiousness that may have an effect on musicians whereas recording. “Being a musician himself, he had numerous empathy for anyone who wandered into his place. He knew how you can make everyone really feel at residence.”

A busy touring schedule did not go away the group a lot time to assemble materials for the album. “Writing was now being carried out full renegade model, within the dressing room, backstage, throughout a day sound verify, at an airport, on the road nook, taxicab, backseat of a good friend’s automotive, on a fishing boat, in all places on the fly,” Gibbons remembered in Rock + Roll Gearhead.

Fortunately, those self same travels offered a gradual stream of lyrical inspiration. “We began documenting occasions as they occurred to us on the street,” Gibbons instructed Music Radar. “As we went alongside, we had been maintaining monitor of skeleton concepts as they popped up. The craft was actually growing.”

Rio Grande Mud was launched on April 4, 1972. Its solely single, “Francine,” managed to hit No. 69 on the Billboard Scorching 100. Nevertheless it’s the working-class anthem “Simply Received Paid,” which options scintillating slide guitar by Gibbons, that is turn into the album’s defining music and a common within the band’s set lists.

Watch ZZ High Carry out ‘Simply Received Paid’

Whereas ZZ High’s breakthrough report would not arrive till a yr later with their third album Tres Hombres and its calling-card single “La Grange,” Gibbons famous that Rio Grande Mud marked an vital turning level.

“We acquired fortunate, catching on in locations that had beforehand been thought-about fairly distant,” he stated in Rock + Roll Gearhead. “One thing was occurring. We loved it and stored on rocking.”

ZZ High Albums Ranked

From the primary album to ‘La Futura,’ we try the Little ‘ol Band From Texas’ studio information.



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