One Track Mind: ZZ Top, “Chartreuse” from Live at Montreux (2014)

More interesting, really, than the way ZZ Top attacks its best-known songs on the upcoming Live at Montreux 2013 is how utterly reinvigorated they sound on new stuff like “Chartreuse.”

A stand-out cut from 2012’s return-to-form La Futura, “Chartreuse” reanimates the lip-smacking salaciousness of “Pearl Necklace” and “Tube Snake Boogie” — even as it reclaims the band’s uncluttered, sleazy groove after a too-long period of synthesized tomfoolery.

Ultimately, moments like this seem to inform all of Live at Montreux 2013, due on July 22, 2013 from Eagle Rock, making it a dangerous delight. After all, “Chartreuse” has all of the attitude of those early hits, and a lot more tread. Better still, it amplifies what made their oft-heard classics such a hoot in the first place.

Clearly, ZZ Top — with a smart assist from Rick Rubin — began making a determined effort a few years ago to get past the missteps of the Eliminator period, and to reclaim the band’s deliriously unrefined ’70s feel. Live at Montreux 2013 is the sound of a band that’s done just that.

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at