Rocky Hill ‎– Rocky Hill (1988)

Rocky Hill ‎– Rocky Hill (1988)

  • Genre: Blues, Rock, FLAC / APE
  • Formats: MP3 FLAC WMA HD APE
  • Album Size: 1861 mb.
  • Archive: ZIP RAR
Artist: Rocky Hill
Title: Rocky Hill
Year Of Release: 1988
Label: Virgin
Genre: Blues Rock, Southern Rock
Quality: Flac (tracks, .cue, log)
Total Time: 40:38
Total Size: 264 Mb (covers)

01. HPD (4:32)
02. I Won't Be Your Fool (5:01)
03. Bad Year for the Blues (3:41)
04. I'll Be There (5:23)
05. New York Turnaround (4:13)
06. Take My Love (3:24)
07. Hoo Doo Eyes (3:34)
08. Sam Bass (3:35)
09. Walked From Dallas (3:41)
10. Mississippi Delta Blues (3:34)
Rocky Hill was the brother of ZZ Top bass player and vocalist Dusty Hill, and in fact played in a psychedelic Blues band with Dusty in the late 60's. That band, a trio called American Blues, also included a certain drummer by the name of Frank Beard. Right there you had two-thirds of the future ZZ Top ready to go.
After the band broke up (with three albums to their credit) Beard joined a band being put together by a guitar player/singer named Billy Gibbons. When their bass player left Beard suggested his American Blues bandmate Dusty Hill, and the rest is history.
Left behind was Rocky Hill, a guitar player of great ability. What became evident as the years went by was that he was also a very solid singer and songwriter as well. And yet he never attempted to capitalize on his brother's success. He continued to play his brand of Blues but recorded few albums (despite having the opportunities to do so), and didn't stray too far from his Texas home to play live gigs.
Rocky Hill died on April 10, 2009 at the age of 62, a largely unknown figure in the music world.
He did, however leave a few albums as a testament to his talent, one of which was 1988's Rocky Hill.
Produced by ZZ Top producer Bill Ham, Rocky Hill features a warm, smooth as silk production job unlike anything Ham had done since ZZ Top's best work in the 70's. Sonically, the album sounds the most like the Top's Deguello album. A mostly clean guitar tone with warmth and personality is the centerpiece, along with Rocky's whiskey soaked, almost Hendrixian vocals.
The album opens with, "HPD," a song about the Houston Police Department. It is bookeneded as a blues shuffle before changing beats and completely turning into a straightforward pumping Rock track, then ending as the blues shuffle it started out as. His vocals here are particularly strong, and he sounds eerily like Jimi Hendrix. His lyrics are also Hendrixian even if the music isn't. This may be the closes he gets to ZZ Top on the album, but it's more like ZZ Top played by Stevie Ray Vaughan and sung by Jimi Hendrix. This track is nothing short of brilliant.
"I Won't Be Your Fool," has a similar Rock beat to the bulk of the previous song, but is more laid back, souldful, and melodic. His vocals are more whiskey soaked than on, "HPD," but are also softer and more emotional. His rhythm guitar parts are flashy, but laid back at the same time. The solo that he plays here is exceptional, as he manages to play with both intensity and an amount of restraint at the same time. The female backup singers in the chorus also give the song a strong soulful feel as well. It is an exceptional song.
According to the next song Rocky played with Jimmy Reed back in 1968, but apparently it was a, "Bad Year For The Blues," as well. The song recounts his experiences that year, and touches on the bluesmen that were lost that year. It is a very personal song. Again, it's got a bit of a Rock beat, but it's a laid back Blues Rock song with some soulful Stax-esque sax parts in their giving the song a nice texture and flavor. Again, his rhythm guitar playing is very riffy at times, but still laid back (I keep saying that - but it IS), and very, very tasteful. This is another nice song (as in, "Niiiiiiiice"), even if it isn't quite as good as the first two songs on the album.
After toying with Soul and R&B textures on the previous two songs, Hill goes full on R&B Soul on, "I'll Be There." Including a sax section, female backing vocalists, and a sax solo. It's a grooving mid-tempo bit of Soul that shows how wide his tastes were when it came to Blues related music. It's a good song, even if not quite as memorable as the previous three songs.
Then comes the turnaround. "New York Turnaround," is a pumping Blues song with the drummer constantly pumping that bass drum during the verses. Again, a sax section adds some flavor to the song, but it almost sounds like there may be a trumpet in there as well. This really is a Rockin' R&B Blues song, and is a strong album track.
Rocky gets back to a Blues shuffle on, "Take My Love," a song that is a little more sparse than anything since the opening track. This song is guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, and nothing else. It is anothe showcase for some excellent guitar playing and some strong vocals from Hill. The rhythm guitar part in the chorus is almost Bad Company-esque, while some of the other parts are very Stevie Ray Vaughn-ish. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he shows the same influences that they did on this song - one of the best on the album.
"Hoo Doo Eyes." What can you say about a song with that title? Well, for one thing - it ROCKS! But it rocks in a bluesy, soulful way. The female background singers are back, but the song is again focused on Hill's guitar playing and lead vocals. When listening to the solo on this one it becomes clear that Billy Gibbons had nothing on this guy! It is a solo that sounds like some of the best stuff that Gibbon's played in the 70's. It is also unfortunately short. "Hoo Doo Eyes," is another highlight on an album filled with strong songs.The tempo and energy level is toned down a bit for, "Sam Bass," another song with busy, but tasteful riffing from Hill for his, "Rhythm," guitar parts. Hill had a flair for writing some good lyrics, particularly songs that tell stories, true or not, and on this song the lyrics are just one of many strengths.Now, I don't know if Rocky Hill ever really, "Walked from Dallas," but he sure is convincing on this very Southern Bluesy song. Apparently no matter what this guy did the Blues caught up with him. This is a more traditional Blues song than most of the others on the album, and it is very effective. The album closes out with, "Mississippi Delta Blues," an acoustic Blues song that is just Hill and his guitar, and nothing else. Stripped down, with no amplification or rhythm section to rely on, Hill still sounds strong. This is the rootsiest song on the album (it doesn't get any rootsier than a guy playing an acoustic guitar and singing the blues), and it is a very nice way to end what is a remarkable, if largely overlooked, album.Rocky Hill wasn't overshadowed by his more famous brother as much as he just didn't come out into the daylight very often. Had he spent more time gigging and recording albums he likely would have been a much better known figure in the music world, but by his own admission he did things his way - slowly. Well, if he took his time writing and recording his albums the time was well spent as Rocky Hill - the album - is an excellent album of soulful, sometimes rocking, Blues songs.
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