Texas swing has never swung harder than it does on Celebrating With Friends, where celebrated fiddler Johnny Gimble pairs up with pals Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and others. Johnny’s band is seriously smokin’, fanned into a fury by Johnny’s son Dick Gimble on bass. Dick’s doghouse solo on “Sweet Georgia Brown” is sweet as a peach, Johnny’s fiddle and mandolin work is delish, and the album’s electric and steel guitar playing is stellar. The album’s deep swing just goes to show that headbanging isn’t just for the edgy set—crank up the Gimble and you’ll be wobbling your noggin like a dashboard bobblehead on a country road.
ZZ Top-Double Down Live 1980–2008 (DVD) [Eagle Vision]
When ZZ Top took the stage on Essen, Germany’s Rockpalast television show in 1980, the band had just marked its 10th anniversary. When the Texas trio embarked on its Almost Now tour in 2008, it was nearing the 40-year mark, and was even longer in the tooth … and beard. If the band shows its age on either occasion—captured on this double- DVD set, it’s for the better. After years playing dive bars, the blues-rock trio had cemented a rhythmic bond that just wouldn’t budge. Bassist and singer Dusty Hill sounds fierce on the Rockpalast performance, plucking each note like he means it.