Writers: Billy F. Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard
Producer: Bill Ham
Recorded: 1973 at Robin Hood Brian Studios in Tyler, Texas, and Ardent Recording in Memphis, Tennessee
|Players:||Billy Gibbons — guitar, vocals
Dusty Hill — bass
Frank Beard — drums
|Album:||Tres Hombres (London, 1973)|
ZZ Top formed in Texas at the dawn of the '70s. Singer-guitarist Billy F. Gibbons had been a member of the regionally popular psychedelic band Moving Sidewalks, who had a hit with “99th Floor.” Drummer Frank Beard and singer-bassist Dusty Hill were recruited from the Dallas blues band American Blues.
The band's name pays tribute in part to bluesman Z.Z. Hill.
Though regional fans knew “that little ol' band from Texas” by virtue of their first two albums, Tres Hombres marked the first time ZZ Top made a blip on the national radar, mostly thanks to the single “La Grange.”
The single just barely missed the Top 40, peaking at Number 41.
Despite Gibbons's drawled vocals — which are patterned after John Lee Hooker — it's plain what the song is about: the “Chicken Ranch” brothel that was immortalized in the book, play, and movieThe Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.
With minimal lyrics, the song is primarily a showcase for the group's instrumental interplay — Hill and Beard's locked-in rhythms and Gibbons's blues-drenched lead guitar.
Following the success of “La Grange” and Tres Hombres, ZZ Top went on to become one of the most popular concert draws of the '70s, including their million-tickets-sold Worldwide Texas tour in 1976.